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Watches & Wonders, Now in Miami, Hopes to Lure Latin American Buyers

Watches & Wonders, Now in Miami, Hopes to Lure Latin American Buyers

By Rachel Felder

Watches & Wonders, the fall fair that once drew luxury brands and industry representatives to Hong Kong, is opening Friday. But it’s been reimagined as a free, consumer-oriented event and, to complete the transformation, moved to Miami.

For the 21 participating watch brands, the location’s allure is more than just sunshine in February, or even the concentration of local clients. Miami’s popularity as a tourist destination and second-home center has made the city a shopping hub for the Latin American luxury watch market, a segment of the industry that has been growing dramatically.

“Miami really is the center for Latin Americans,” said Ruggero Mango, general manager for the Americas at the Swiss watch brand Parmigiani Fleurier, one of the brands taking part in the fair. “It’s the place where all the South Americans converge to have a vacation but also to find sophistication.”

Last year, luxury watch sales in Latin America — which for them includes South America, Central America, Mexico and also the Caribbean — increased by nearly 14 percent, to more than $950 million, according to the consumer research company Euromonitor International. That total is modest in comparison with markets like mainland China, where sales in 2017 totaled $2.87 billion. But Latin America’s sales have gone up every year for the last five years, despite drops in some individual countries, like Brazil, which are facing economic and political insecurity.

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