High-end watch demand increases among younger Thai generation

Narun Thamavaranukup, the managing director of PMT The Hour Glass, Image courtesy of The Hour Glass via Facebook

A constant evolution and inherent value have ensured a secure niche for high-end watches in today’s market, said Narun Thamavaranukup, the managing director of watch distribution company, PMT The Hour Glass. With smartphones ubiquitous, one might think wristwatches would lose their charm. However, as Narun says, these timepieces are more than mere instruments to tell time.

For Narun, watches play multiple roles: They are assets, investments, and collectables.

“Our watch business could remain sustainable for a decade even if we cease all marketing activities.”

His company experienced an unexpected effect of the pandemic over the past three years. More free time led to an increased interest in watch collecting, particularly amongst the younger generation, insists Narun.

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High-end watches are attracting a demographic significantly younger than that witnessed previously, with individuals aged between 25 and 35 years old now forming the fastest-growing segment.

Before Covid-19 struck, Narun noted that watch demand was approximately 3.2 times their supply. He said…

“In 2021 and 2022, despite a product shortage, demand surged by seven times and 12.6 times, respectively. The watch industry is full of opportunities.”

Impressively, records from the Customs Department showed imports of Swiss watches hitting a high of 13 billion baht in value last year, a significant rise from 2019’s 9.55 billion.

Narun’s journey in watches began back in 2007 at a Watch Fair in Basel, Switzerland where he encountered Michael Tay, the group managing director of luxury watch retailer, The Hour Glass. A year later, they launched a joint venture, PMT The Hour Glass, out of their united passion for watch culture and desire to promote it in Thailand.

PMT now has grown from two boutiques to 15 outlets in Thailand and Vietnam. By the end of this year, they will launch five new branches in Vietnam, aiming for a total of 20 boutiques across the two countries. From a staff of 20, PMT now boasts over 250 dedicated employees and has seen its revenue surge from 6 billion baht in the financial year ending in March 2023.

PMT’s watch range includes notable brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Hublot, and Tudor, as well as artisanal watchmakers like Akrivia and DE Bethune. Narun said…

“We take great pride in managing Patek Philippe’s flagship boutique at Iconsiam and being a leading Rolex retailer in Thailand.”

In recent developments, PMT The Hour Glass has branched into the Vietnam market, adding two boutiques in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Despite facing the pandemic’s challenges, Narun expresses confidence in its ability to grow sales, reported Bangkok Post. He believes that the narrative, history, and innovation behind each brand lends them incredible appeal.

“The highly sophisticated market in which we operate cannot be disrupted by smartwatches. Even during the challenging period of the pandemic, our sales continued to grow.

“We have a clear and unwavering mission to nurture a culture of collecting watches, even in down markets. By doing so, we can ignite a lasting passion for watches. We also focus on marketing watch brands that have a long-term vision to build brand value.”

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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