Expensive watches back in demand

JIJI

Expensive watches are in high demand amid an increase in wealthy foreign tourists to the country after many shied away after the disasters struck in March 2011.

High-end brands from Switzerland, including Rolex and Franck Muller, are selling especially well at the Takashimaya Co. department store in Chuo Ward, Tokyo.

April-June Rolex watch sales at the store rose some 50 percent from a year before, with the average unit price rising to ¥800,000 from ¥730,000.

Japanese luxury brands are also popular. Sales during the same period of Seiko Holdings Corp.’s Grand Seiko watches, which range in price from ¥500,000 to ¥600,000, rose 80 percent.

Behind the increased popularity of luxury watches are the recovery in the number of foreign tourists to Japan, particularly from China, and the growing trend among Japanese consumers to buy high-quality products for long-term use, Seiko officials said.

Citizen Holdings Co. is also preparing to enter the high-end watch market. Its mainstay products are currently priced between ¥10,000 and ¥150,000.