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Time Products luxury and volume divisions tell a tale of two markets

Time Products group turnover

Time Products Luxury and Time Products (UK) represent both ends of the British watch industry.

The luxury company now sells exclusively to personally invited customers to an historic townhouse on Mayfair’s Berkeley Square.

Time Products (UK) owns the high volume Sekonda, Seksy, Limit and Accurist watch brands.

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Accounts published this week for the two companies this week tell a story of the top and bottom of the market are evolving, or at least how the group’s owner Marcus Margulies is reacting to fundamental changes over recent years.

Along with distributing a number of prestige watch brands, Time Products Luxury owned shops on London’s Bond Street and Burlington Arcade until recently, but with the biggest watch brands and their parent companies moving towards selling direct to customers from prime Central London locations, the business took the decision to withdraw from traditional retail into its exclusive Mayfair townhouse.

There, Mr Margulies and his team welcome high net worth clients for private consultations for some of the world’s finest and rarest watches.

The transition has not been cheap. In the latest financial year, which ended January 31 this year, sales halved from £8.2 million to £4.2 million, leading to an operating loss of £5.2 million.

“The basis of Time Products Luxury has always been primarily in the distribution of high value watch brands. This is now increasingly in the hands of major groups who sell the products themselves, taking advantage of vertical integration,” a note from the company accompanying the latest accounts says.

Reacting to that change in the industry, the company says it has: “Closed our two Bond Street stores and our lease in the Burlington Arcade will expire at the end of May.

“We will shortly be opening our new building in Berkeley Square and selling high value luxury products to an invited audience. This is a very expensive product in which we believe, but it will take time to establish,” it adds.

The far larger part of the group, Time Products (UK) saw sales dip by 4% in 2018-19 to £35.4 million, outperforming a market sector that declined by double digit percentages last year.

According to GfK, 2018 sales of watches priced at under £100 were down 9.4% while the total value fell by more than 18% in the £100-£500 price range.

 

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder