Richemont five month results – riding high

Richemont just announced its results for the five months to Aug 2011. Sales are up by 29 % at actual exchange rates. At constant exchange rates, sales increased by 35 %. The star performer was Asia-Pacific which grew 46% at actual exchange rates. The jewellery maisons (Cartier and VC&A) did well at +34% at actual rates while watchmakers grew 28%. Montblanc (both pens, watches and accessories) is underperforming with growth of only 10%. Here is the performance breakdown:

Change at constant exchange rates versus prior year

Change at actual exchange rates versus prior year

Sales by region

Europe

+ 22 %

+ 21 %

Asia-Pacific

+ 59 %

+ 46 %

Americas

+ 41 %

+ 26 %

Japan

+   8 %

+ 7 %

Sales by distribution channel

Retail

+ 44 %

+ 37 %

Wholesale

+ 27 %

+ 22 %

Sales by business area

Jewellery Maisons

+ 41 %

+ 34 %

Specialist Watchmakers

+ 34 %

+ 28 %

Montblanc Maison

+ 15 %

+ 10 %

Other

+ 30 %

+ 24 %

Total

+ 35 %

+ 29 %

In his statement CEO and Chairman Johann Rupert cites the global economy and strong Swiss Franc strength as reasons to be cautious and not expect similar figures for the rest of the year. He does note a net cash position of EUR2.6 billion. Might Richemont make an acquisition? – SJX

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Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback TiAlum

Zenith-El-Primero-Stratos-Flyback-Alchron-284291

Zenith continues to establish itself as the maker of conventional and well priced watches across the segments with some Hublot-inspired tactics. One of the major new models debuted by Zenith this year is the El Primero Stratos, a sports chronograph that looks like a cross between a Daytona and the old Zenith Rainbow.

Besides the run of the mill metals like steel and gold, the Stratos is also available in TiAlum (which was formerly known as Alchron but Audi apparently owns that trademark), an aluminium alloy exclusive to Zenith in watchmaking. Zenith says Alchron has a lot of extraordinary qualities like weight, corrosion resistance, hardness. That might be true but such aluminium alloys are commonly found in aerospace and not particularly exotic.

The case is a large 45.5 mm in diameter but does not seem overly wide on the wrist. Overall it is a good looking watch, if a bit pedestrian. Also available in the Stratos case is the Striking 10th, a modified El Primero movement that has the centre chrono seconds ticking at one second intervals. While it is a great idea and logical for the 36,000 bph El Primero calibre, the ticking motion of the seconds hand isn’t entirely satisfying and it does not tick with the same consistency throughout its motion around the dial. While not revolutionary in looks or complication, this watch is a compelling proposition on price-quality ratio, like the rest of the Zenith Winsor Captain annual calendar.

– SJX

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