Sales for the combined volume and luxury watch businesses of Time Products dipped to £45.1 million in the financial year ended January 31, 2018.
The previous year’s turnover of £68.4 million was inflated by the one-off sale of the company’s world-leading archive and stock of Audemars Piguet timepieces as the two companies agreed to an early termination of their long term distribution agreement for the UK.
Marcus Margulies sold his world-renowned collection of vintage Audemars Piguet timepieces to the Swiss watchmaker in 2016. Mr Margulies, founder and CEO of Time Products Luxury, spent almost 30 years amassing what is thought to have been the most significant private collection in the world, including pieces dating from the 1890s to the 1990s.
The exceptional sale of the AP collection in 2016 created a one year spike in sales for Time Products Luxury Ltd, but the prestige end of the business had been in decline since 2012, when turnover peaked at £27 million. The company ran three boutiques at the time: vintage watch specialist Almar in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade, a Hublot monobrand boutique on New Bond Street in London and the multi brand Marcus showroom selling rare contemporary timepieces on Old Bond Street.
All three stores are now closed, with Mr Margules switching his focus to private sales to collectors from a historic townhouse on Mayfair’s Berkeley Square. The townhouse has been under renovation all of this year, but is expected to welcome its first clients soon.
Turnover at Time Products Luxury Ltd, alone, dropped to £8.2 million, but there was also £13.3 million of unexplained operating income, allowing the business to record an operating profit of £7.1 million.
Sales at Time Products (UK) Limited, the business responsible for the design and distribution of Sekonda, Accurist, Seksy and Limit watches, almost exactly matched the £37 million of 2016, but operating profit increased by 46% to £3.6 million.
A statement accompanying the Time Products (UK) accounts says that Sekonda remains the highest volume watch brand in the UK, with sales of 2 million units. It is also a leading brand in the travel retail industry, outselling its rivals on many airline and duty free points of sale.
Seksy, the female-focused sister brand to Sekonda, had its most successful year, ever, in 2017, the accounts state.
Limit is the fifth highest selling watch brand by volume in the UK, Time Products says, and was also launched in China in 2017.
Accurist, which was bought by Time Products in 2014, has now been fully integrated into the business, and is being pushed into both UK channels and exported through travel retail networks.