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Fred Levin featured in the 2022 WatchPro Hot 100 as a leader in Media & Influence.

Health monitor for watch brands interrogates margins and stock turns

Luxury Watch Barometer uses point of sale data to measure gross margin return on investment.

Luxury Watch Barometer uses POS data from 400 retailers with over 2,000 doors to monitor the return on investment from major watch manufacturers.

Fred Levin was an omniscient observer of the watch industry for 13 years during his time with LGI and NPD in the United States; amassing and analysing data from point of sale systems at hundreds of retailers to provide insight into what was hot or not.

Finding himself at the intersection of information, technology, brands and retailers led him to launch Troverie in 2016, an ecommerce play that aimed to help authorised dealers reach a wider audience.

Troverie was acquired by Clum Group in 2021, a creative agency that works with American Youtuber and entrepreneur Teddy Baldassare, and its technology became part of his media and retail operation.

A spell back in the consultancy business followed for Mr Levin, but his relationship with the  watch industry lured him back, and now he has relaunched a data analytics business in the form of the Luxury Watch Barometer (LWB), which went live in November.

There was a gap in the market after NPD closed down its watch division in 2020, but extracting accurate facts and figures from the notoriously opaque industry would have been tough for an individual without Mr Levin’s blend of relationships with retailers and brands, number-crunching skills and technology expertise.

Luxury Watch Barometer, as the name suggests, aims to provide valuable information about the comparative strength and weakness of brands using point of sale information from retailers.

Mr Levin says his data covers 19 out of the top 20 brands (Rolex is not included), and it is receiving information from the POS systems of 40% of the retail doors that stock those brands.

Giving that a bit of context, LGI was receiving data from only 30% of the doors, on average, for the brands it covered.

Hundreds of independents and three of the top five retail groups in the United States are involved, although Mr Levin would not say which of the five.

“Our sample covers retailers generating around $800 million in sales from more than 400 retailers with over 2,000 doors,” he states.

In essence, the sample size for the data is statistically strong, and therefore valuable.

LWB’s aim is to provide data on the health of watch brands.

It has an algorithm that uses data including gross margins, sales by store, annual same store sales growth, the pace of inventory turns and gross margin return on investment (GMROI) a widely-understood guide on which brands provide the best returns to retailers.

LWB will only provide granular information broken down by brands to its paying subscribers and the retailers that provide POS data, which get their subscription for free.

Subscription prices depend on the size of retailers, but can be less than $2,000 per year.

On the agreement that we would not publish brand-specific data, WatchPro was given a tour of the system, which aims to give a birds eye view of which brands are performing best rather than drilling down to the level of individual collections or references.

It is all about return on investment for retailers, according to Mr Levin.

Should I double the size of my shop-in-shop for a certain brands?

Should I swap this brand out for another?

Would opening a franchise boutique pay off or should I stick with multibrand showrooms?

These are the questions that LWB answers through a table of brands’ GMROI in the United States.

“Square footage [at retail] is a huge battle ground for brands and their retailers,” Mr Levin describes.

But retailers, particularly the smaller independents, have been forced to use their gut instincts rather than data to make major investment decisions.

LWB aims to put the power of reliable data into the hands of the many, not just the few.

For additional information go to www.luxurywatchdata.com.

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