Sometimes you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot—or at least that’s what buyers in Singapore assumed last month when sales of luxury watches surged due to fear of a upswing in prices. When the Swiss franc shot up in January, savvy investors and well-heeled shoppers flocked to retailers to snatch up timepieces before brands had a chance to change prices in reaction. Rolex in particular was flying out the door in record numbers—where only four or five pieces were normally sold a day, after news of the new exchange rate, 25 to 30 were being purchased daily. But unfortunately for buyers, those prices never actually went up.
When the franc rose 18 to 20 percent against the euro, watch prices were expected to immediately reflect this change, and cost about 20 percent more. But since the demand for luxury watches in Singapore was low in 2014, export numbers this year are lower, and so prices have stayed relatively unchanged. In the month since the rush for timepieces, none of the major Swiss brands have announced any price changes in the Asian market. In fact, the only Asian country where prices have risen is in Japan, and the change is due to the weakening yen rather than the strong Swiss franc.