What is the common denominator for two recently concluded events in Singapore: the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix “Night Race” (19 to 21 September 2014) and the Jewellery Time exhibition (26 September to 5 October 2014) by specialist watch retailer Cortina Watch?
Well, both events were held in this Southeast Asian country for the seventh time. While the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix is a major global sport which costs around SGD30 million to stage each year, Jewellery Time is more of a regional affair and is supported by 12 major watch brands.
The brands being Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Corum, Ebel, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Zenith; all of which highlighted their jewellery timepiece offerings.
Held at the atrium of the Paragon Shopping Mall along Orchard Road where Cortina Watch also operates a multi-brand store, more than 200 high jewellery timepieces worth an estimated SGD30 million were displayed.
What is of more importance is the impact the Singapore Grand Prix brings to the host country and in Jewellery Time’s instance, the benefits to Cortina Watch.
In a September 2014 article published in Singapore daily The Straits Times (“Do F1 benefits roll on after race week?”), the contributor, Ang Swee Hoon, who is an associate professor from the National University of Singapore Business School, highlighted that a 2012 Boston Consulting Group Study revealed that “70 to 90 percent of foreign business owners and top management of mid-sized companies had improved perceptions of Singapore because of the F1.”
Similarly, Jeremy Lim, chief operating officer of Cortina Watch, points out that Jewellery Time “was a good platform to reinforce their presence on the map” bearing in mind that they have a regional retail presence in the markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
This explains why around 30 VIP clients were specially flown into Singapore from the region to attend the Jewellery Time exhibition and related private functions hosted by Cortina Watch.
It also explains why Sonia Sui, a regional actress and model from Taiwan rather than a local one, was the “face of Jewellery Time 2014.”
One special timepiece specially made for the Jewellery Time exhibition is Blancpain’s Villeret 8-Day Perpetual Calendar in rose gold that is limited to 20 pieces. While the regular version is also in rose gold, it is not set with 42 diamonds on the bezel.
Having 42 diamonds was a deliberate move as it is symbolic; Cortina Watch, founded in 1972, celebrates its 42nd birthday this year.
Chopard also made two unique Imperiale Full Set automatic watches exclusively for Jewellery Time. According to an insider, Chopard timepieces sold very well during the exhibition.
One favourite among collectors was Corum’s Bridges Golden Bridge “Dragon” featuring the well-defined hand-engraved imperial five-clawed mythical beast.
Acknowledging that sales do spike upwards during past Jewellery Time exhibitions, Lim also reveals that SGD10 million was generated by the last such event held in 2011.
Given that Cortina Watch, a publicly-listed entity on the Singapore Exchange, reported SGD415.1 million in revenues for its financial year ended March 2014, average sales a day was around SGD1.14 million.
All other things being equal, should this regional retailer maintain the SGD10 million spike, it would mean that sales would have almost doubled over this 10-day exhibition period thereby offering a respectable return.
Apart from sales, there are also the intangibles and this relates to the brand building and awareness for Cortina Watch in this part of the world.
“Jewellery Time is even more significant [for the industry] if you consider that over the past three years, there have not been any major watch exhibitions on such a scale, not even by the brands [in this part of the world],” notes Lim.
Click on the photo at the top of this article to see a photo gallery of the jewellery watches that were on display at this exhibition.