SWITZERLAND. A new website – MrIndex.com– is making Swiss watch price comparisons more transparent. Launched in October 2018, it is targeting shoppers of luxury watches including those planning to make duty free purchases.

The site currently covers 15 currency areas with the Euro divided into four countries: Germany, France, Italy and Spain. It uses real-time updated pricing adjusted cross-currency. MrIndex.com is expected to add additional currencies in the near future.

Benchmarking the Rolex brand today in Singapore dollars, MrIndex suggests the best VAT-free prices will be found in the UK followed by Canada [click to enlarge].

The pricing and model availability of luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Omega, Patek Philippe or Rolex can vary from country to country. MrIndex.com aims to answer a simple question: Where in the world can I buy a model of a particular watch at the lowest price?

Carl Gimond: “We see MrIndex as an entrepreneurial travel retail project.”

Founder and CEO of MrIndex Carl Gimond, is a veteran of one of the world’s most famous watchmaking brands. He told The Moodie Davitt Report: “We wanted to show official pricing information to consumers in a transparent way so that they can benchmark prices by location. We simply collect the official retail sales prices of each model from the websites of each brand and put them into the price comparison tool we created in-house.

“As brands mostly show prices including taxes on their websites, we can easily draw conclusions about prices from duty free retailers. That is why we both show prices including and excluding VAT.”

Gimond’s research led him to conclude that “high-value watches consumption is mainly made by travellers in order to get the best deal”.

A level playing field for consumers…

MrIndex has been designed to create a level playing field for consumers, collectors and retailers, claimed the company. It added: “MrIndex.com offers travelling consumers an opportunity to purchase a luxury Swiss watch at a price up to 50% lower than in their home currency. Retailers can use this sales tool for the benefit of their foreign clientele as well as provide previously unavailable price information to their local clients to stimulate new purchases.”

MrIndex makes no secret that Chinese travellers are a focus. “Chinese shoppers are, of course, a key target as they are a major buyer of those products,” said Gimond. “We started the website in English because it was the obvious launch language but we are already working on translations in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. We see MrIndex as an entrepreneurial travel retail project.”

Since the site was launched, the MrIndex team has stepped up marketing efforts in order to drive traffic. “We’ve also been discussing ways to monetise our service and traffic with ecommerce partners such as brands and retailers,” added Gimond.

According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) growth in Swiss watch exports last year was led by the Asian market, while an increase in the US was offset by a downturn in Europe. Asia represented 53% of the sector’s turnover with major growth coming from South Korea (25.7%), Hong Kong (19.1%), China (11.7%) and Japan (9.1%).

Asia Pacific demand for Swiss watches soared last year, well ahead of other regions (Source: FH)