Patek Philippe to increase prices by 5.5%

Patek Philippe, 5320G_001_AMBPatek Philippe, 5320G_001_AMB

Watch giant Patek Philippe intends to raise its prices by 5.5% in the UK, WatchPro has learned.

Retailers were notified of the increase this week, with the new price list set to take effect from September 1.

Sources told WatchPro that the Swiss brand had cited the “weak pound” for the rise, which is understood to be the second time it has hiked prices since last year’s EU referendum.

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WatchPro approached Patek Philippe for comment, but had not had an official response at the time of publication.

In its most recently published financial accounts, for the year ending January 2017, Rhone Products, the UK importer and distributor for Patek Philippe watches in the UK, acknowledged that the “principal risk” to the group was falling consumer demand as a result of the UK economic climate and the Swiss franc to pound sterling exchange rate.

It said that the exchange rate still impacts on purchases, which has put pressure on achieving acceptable margins, although directors of the firm stated they were “pleased” with its progress having earned a £6.3m net profit on sales up 14% to £142m last year.

Price hikes from luxury watch brands have been a theme of the market since Britain voted to leave the European Union last June.

Brands such as Audemars Piguet, Richemont, IWC, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Hublot raised trade prices by around 10% in the wake of the election, while Breitling has increased prices twice in the past year.

Rolex adjusted its UK watches by 10% in November 2016, its first rise for the best part of five years.

The decrease in the value of sterling against the Swiss franc has caused a massive spike in exports for Swiss watches into the UK over the past 12 months, putting pressure on them to protect margins and close the gap between prices in the UK and those in other major markets.

The UK is currently the fourth largest market for Swiss watches in the world.

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