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(Bloomberg) -- Roger Dubuis, a Swiss watchmaker owned by Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, anticipates increasing prices in the euro zone by 7 percent in reaction to the Swiss National Bank’s Jan. 15 decision to exit a three-year-old euro cap.
The brand will probably also cut Swiss prices by 4 to 6 percent, helping Switzerland maintain its advantage for tourists buying products while traveling in the Alpine nation, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Pontroue said in an interview at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva.
The SNB’s shock decision to end the minimum exchange rate between the Swiss franc and the euro means luxury timepiece makers face one of their most challenging years as all but a fraction of Swiss watches are exported. The move is also likely to lead to increased local production costs.
“We don’t want to overreact,” Pontroue, 50, said at the annual conference, where 16 of the world’s most expensive watch brands are showcasing new products this week. “We’re taking the 1:1 euro-franc rate very seriously. We didn’t raise prices immediately. We’ve decided to wait for a while and to take our time to see how the rates will evolve in the coming days.”
The Swiss watch industry is exiting from what probably will rank as the second-worst annual performance since 2009. Full- year data isn’t out yet, but exports of Swiss watches rose 2.3 percent in the first 11 months of 2014, a far cry from growth rates that reached as much as 22 percent in 2010.
Roger Dubuis is presenting its new Excalibur line at the Geneva watch salon, with prices ranging from 130,000 francs ($149,500) to 650,000 francs. The new version of the timepiece has a more sporty and casual presentation, Pontroue said.
“That, along with the colorful straps and lightweight titanium, is a way to attract younger customers as well,” he said, adding that the company’s focus for 2015 will be building its retail network, mainly in the U.S.
Roger Dubuis plans to open three stores in the U.S. between May this year and March 2016, at Madison Avenue in New York, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and in Miami.
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