2009-2010 Horologically  0 Comments


It is unfortunate that my priority of responsibilities over the past three months had to result in the intermittent and reduced frequency of posts. I even missed my annual review of the events in the start of each year. I sorely missed that but hopefully it will be made up as the weeks ahead we have quite a few things to look forward to.

SIHH just ended a couple of weeks ago and it seems the industry is determined to pull itself out of the doldrums of 2009 poor showing of novelties. Several smaller watch houses and parts suppliers had to meet their end due to financial difficulties and some renowned brands had lost respected leaders due to market demands. Then there are brands that had clearly changed leadership to realign their future plans. But its clear to me that the industry is realising the tangible change of how market has moved due to the impact of financial crisis to various markets around the world. Gone or at least on the way out are the days of exuberant and over designed watches. Classical designs (see latest offerings from Zenith) and austerity is returning.

I did predict last year that industry will start to return to the joys of producing thinner watches and the return to sanity of case sizes around 40mm. No other watch stands out for me than IWC Portuguese handwound classics that was showcased at SIHH (although the Zenith came close).

Was 2009 the year for bargains for pre-owned watches as I had predicted? It may not have been in retrospect a deluge of bargains but there were certainly a few very fine and desirable pieces going for prices below market in 2008. All the more were pieces seen that were not commonly seen in trading forums.

Reading my tea leaves - I doubt that the main industry players will change their modus operandi and will continue to do what they believedd to be successful strategy over the past 8 years. There is yet to be a real price correction of the watches coming to market and this is where it gets interesting. It will be the new collectors and the noveau riche that will find themselves clamouring for watches that cost 30% more than 5 years ago for similar models. The experienced and avid collectors who had been around will continue to find it harder and harder to buy new pieces today - going by what they know of the watches and the prices they sold a few years ago (see my next post on the rare sale of two mint Portuguese 2000 Limited Edition Rose Gold).

Whether the brands or collectors wish to be honest about it, the initiative has moved to East Asia and Russia where the new money pouring into luxury goods has drawn almost all the attention of suppliers away from the previously respected enclaves of strong collectors. Watches will be designed and priced for these markets. All the more, collectors will refocus and see the value to acquire good condition preowned pieces.

SIHH 2010 had been overall been a positive surprise for the industry watchers. I wonder if Baselworld will have the same impact.



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Watching Horology


  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
  • ©HarrySKTan2005

Horolography - noun, the art of photographing timepieces

Horolographer - Harry SK Tan

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