In the Far East, namely South-East Asia in particular, it comes as no surprise that Singapore is often the first choice when it comes to the establishment of a watch brand’s boutique in this region.
German watch brand and Manufacture Glashütte Original for instance, opened its first South-East Asian boutique in Singapore towards the end of 2015. This is the brand’s flagship boutique for South-East Asia and it is located at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
It is also a city where some of the largest watch brand boutiques are located. For example, Patek Philippe’s largest boutique with a floor area of 2,800 square feet (260.1 square metres) is at the ION Orchard shopping mall.
Moreover, quite a few brands have more than one boutique in Singapore. Audemars Piguet is one fine example, with two boutiques on this island city – one located at Liat Towers and the other in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
Franck Muller officially launched its new boutique in Singapore. Located at Isetan, Wisma Atria, the brand, at the time of writing, has two boutiques in this city.
Why is Singapore so important for the watch brands? The reason is simple: Singapore is the only country in South-East Asia that ranks among the top ten destinations, notably for Swiss watch exports.
In fact, Singapore is one of the four East Asian countries among the top 10 Swiss watch export destinations.
The other three (in North-East Asia) being Hong Kong which is the world’s top market for Swiss watch exports (importing CHF3.18 billion worth in 2015), China (CHF1.34 billion) and Japan, the fifth largest export market for Swiss watches (CHF1.31 billion in 2015), according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH.
What are the countries of South-East Asia?
South-East Asia is made up of 11 countries, namely: Brunei, Cambodia, Timor-Leste or East Timor, Indonesia, Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic or LPDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
With the human population of around 624 million, South-East Asia is collectively home to 8.3% of the world’s population totalling 7.6 billion.
What’s more, South-East Asia offers growth opportunities as its international economic significance is rising thanks to its developing countries.
Thailand and Malaysia for example, are among the top 30 Swiss watch export markets in South-East Asia.
Singapore is the ninth largest market for Swiss watch exports which was valued at CHF1.13 billion in 2015, leading to a market share of around 5.3%. One must also understand that many of the Swiss watches are subsequently re-exported to its neighbouring South-East Asian countries.
Though Singapore is a small country with the human population of 5.5 million compared to Indonesia’s 254 million, Vietnam’s 90.7 million and Thailand’s 67.7 million, it is still an ideal location for the largest Patek Philippe boutique.
This is because Singapore is the most affluent country in the region, with its GDP per capita of US$56,285 in 2014, according to The World Bank.
Coupled with the boutique’s location along Singapore’s shopping belt, this theoretically translates to higher opportunities with well-heeled locals and tourists.
Moreover, Singapore is well-regarded as a watch hub for collectors in the region.
Related articles on timewerke.com that may be of interest include:
i. Franck Muller Boutique: A second home?
ii. Glashütte Original strengthens its Asian presence.