The third category of luxury timepieces, which includes the more fashion-oriented models, is Gucci’s traditional area of expertise. Gucci watches address the needs of a younger, trendier and frequently female customer.
I am pleased to note all of these three categories are present here on the INDULGE floor of Starhill Gallery. There are a total of 70 luxurious brands for you to choose from, each with its own DNA and personality!
It is amazing that a luxury watch consists of more than 300 parts with highly complex mechanisms that are fitted into the smallest of casings! It takes great thought and meticulous work. It is a masterpiece of patience and passion and the apogee of craftsmanship. The Patek Philippe Calibre 89 contains 1728 parts!
When Breguet and Patek Philippe launched the world’s first wristwatches in the 19th century, only the kings and queens of Europe could afford to buy one.
Watches used to be made in winter, when there was less work to do the farms. Even today, many luxury watches are produced in rural areas like the Vallėe de Joux in the Jura mountains of Canton Vaud.
Over the years, production increased and the number of players multiplied, but luxury watches have maintained their status as symbols of success: time is indeed money. Collectors of fine watches include the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy and Brad Pitt.
My friend Rolf Schneider who owns the luxury watch brand, Ulysses Nardin is also a collector. He ‘collected’ a beautiful Malaysian girl as his wife, she is also a masterpiece. We are connected by their adoption of one of our gorgeous Shar-peis.
My good friends, Luciano Pavarotti collects Parmigiani and Pablo Montoya collects Audemars Piguet. I am pleased to note that both of them bought some of their collections from Starhill Gallery. Classic opera singers like Placido Domingo and Cecilia Bartolli and sports personalities like Maria Sharapova and Kimi Raikkonen continue to be ambassadors for these luxury brands synchronising their respective personalities.
Today however, the luxury watch industry is worth US$4 billion dollars and the growth of this category outpaces the growth of watches that are low- and medium-priced. Nowadays, brands like Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Maurice Lacroix, Roger Dubuis, Tag Heuer, Bover, De Witt, Parmigiani, Bell & Ross, Cartier, Chopard and Patek Philippe outsell Titoni, Favre-Leuba, Titus, Roamer, Seiko, Citizen and Casio. It is poignant from this fact that no matter how many recessions an economy undergoes, there will always be wealthy people and ardent collectors of these fine pieces of craftsmanship.
Most buyers of luxury watches are members of the jet set who tend to do their shopping while on vacation. Overseas, they feel, the choice is wider and the showrooms more appealing. It is with this in mind that Starhill Gallery hired the global mall design icon David Rockwell from New York to shape the interior of the new Starhill Gallery. We hope the shopping experience we produce will be unforgettable.
Baltasar Gracian said, “God Himself chastens not with a rod but with time” and Anne Swetchine said, “There is, by God’s grace, an immeasurable distance between late and too late”. I pray that the launching of Starhill Gallery as a global fine watch retailer to be opened by July this year will prove to be propitious. I pray that with God’s mercy and grace He will bless this important project. Thank you very much.
Speech delivered by Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh
Managing Director, YTL Corporation Berhad
at the Press Conference on
Indulge Floor @ Starhill Gallery
on May 10, 2005
at JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur