Jan 21, 2015
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Rolexes fly off Singapore shelves as Swiss franc surges

Jan 21, 2015

Rolexes and other Swiss luxury watches are flying off the shelves in Singapore after the Swiss franc surged against other currencies, retailers said Tuesday.

Enthusiasts and investors are splurging on the fine timepieces before retailers adjust their price tags to reflect the strengthening franc.

The franc has shot up 20 percent against the euro and the US dollar since Thursday after the Swiss central bank stunned global markets with its bombshell decision to abandon the minimum rate of 1.20 francs against the European common currency.

Sales staff at Singapore luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass told AFP they had experienced an increase in sales of Swiss brands, with Rolexes thriving in particular.

Most of its retail outlets located along Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping district, sold 25-30 Rolex watches a day on Saturday and Sunday, compared to the usual four to five daily.

Among the favourites were entry-level models costing upwards of Sg$10,000 ($7,500).

One Rolex retailer located at a five-star hotel told AFP that Datejust and GMT Rolex models sold briskly and stocks were thinning.

Another shop at a high-end shopping mall along Orchard Road sold 10 Franck Muller watches per day over the weekend, a sharp increase over its usual one or two, sales staff said.

"The buyers are aware that retailers would soon raise the prices of our Swiss models," a watch store manager told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"About half of our customers enquire when it will happen and many are willing to make purchases in anticipation of this price rise."

Affluent Singapore has a per capita income of $55,230, one of the highest in the world, and is also a key shopping destination in the region.

$1 = £0.66

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