Boris Johnson’s brush with death caused watch sales to crash


Chronext, a secondary market luxury watch trader based in Germany, says that the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic impacted sales far more than in countries with the most successful containment strategies, such as Germany and Switzerland. 

The company’s CEO, Philipp Man, told WatchPro over a Zoom call that he had seen a “disproportionate drop off in demand in the UK”.

In most of its key markets, Chronext saw the steepest drops in sales in the first weeks of March, but activity started to pick up in the second half of the month.


Demand continued to rise through April and May, and returned to pre-pandemic levels in June.

The UK was an exception, particularly in early April, when prime minister Boris Johnson was hospitalised with the virus and news emerged that he was fighting for his life.

Mr Johnson was admitted into a London hospital on April 6 and discharged on April 12.

“When we really saw a drop off in demand in the UK was when Boris Johnson had to go to hospital. That is when people really saw how real the situation was and how [the country] might not have been dealing with it correctly,” Mr Man reveals.

The UK’s ruinous lock down, which has quarantined the working age population who are at very low risk of dying from Covid-19 while allowing the virus to run wild among the most vulnerable elderly population, has paralysed the retail sector.

Sales through brick and mortar retail dropped by around 97% in April, according to GfK.

Seen from the continent, Britain’s response looks out of proportion. “In German and Switzerland, the weather has been great and people do not have such a gloomy attitude. It feels much more like an epidemic in the UK,” Mr Man suggests.





  1. It was also the week of the worst fall on the stock market in over a decade, which I posit might have affected people’s attitudes more than BoJo being even less active than his admittedly low norm.
    It was also the week of Harry and Meghan’s last public appearance, and obviously the nation was in a state of shock and so unlikely to squander money on fripperies

  2. The ironic thing here in the UK is that with the negative bias reporting by the UK national press and our draconian lockdown rules have made the younger generation from the working population (who have least to worry about) the most frightened to return to work, while the older marginally more vulnerable people are quite often the ones not frightened to return to work at all. That said, I could be wrong and would love to see some statistics.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here