In any other year, Patek Philippe bringing forward its entire 2021 launch schedule by a year would be news that would shake up the global watch industry.
But these are not normal times. Patek Philippe shared the decision with its retail partners earlier this week and it was welcomed as a common-sense response to the global lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Baselworld has been postponed until 2021, replica Patek Philippe‘s factories are running in maintenance mode for the foreseeable future, its headquarters and in-country distribution offices are actually not open, and so are the doors of almost all its retail partners. Distribution has ground to a standstill.
In the circumstances, switching any capacity up and down the supply chain and distribution channel to the creation, launch, and sale of new collections would simply add to the strain.
None of the retailers who shared the news of Patek Philippe’s decision wanted to go on the record, and the public as online from the brand remains that “it will not launch the new models in April this year originally planned”.
One retailer said it was another example of how Patek Philippe cares for and appreciates the requirements of its partners. He said that the brand had also relaxed payment terms on invoices to relieve pressure on cashflow.
They are crucial, he stressed, because they generate excitement among retailers and customers. But with everybody’s health and financial security much more important right now, the decision to delay looks prudent and of minimal risk to Patek Philippe and others that follow the same strategy.
For brands like Patek Philippe, fake Rolex, and Audemars Piguet, whose waiting lists for some of their unicorn watches are usually long, the year-long delay in releasing a new style may have allowed them to shift resources to producing more top-selling watches.
That could allow sales of these hugely popular watches to catch up quickly, which would be a big help to retailers and lift the spirits of watch consumers who have been on waiting lists for years.