Whether one is searching for authentic or fake watches, the Chinese market is a flood with designer brands such as Rolex and Vacheron Constantin. The Chinese market is growing, due to the emergence of an affluent middle class, and with it comes vast competition. And, on top of the plethora of replica Rolex Submariner, fake Vacheron Constantin watches, and other knock-off designer watches, are the duties. Chinese import duties are at levels that would send any good business person off shaking their head. Joining the Chinese market race is a risky business venture.
But the allure of the elusive Chinese middle-class market keeps Western businesses trying to crack it, often at their own peril. Vacheron Constantin closed nearly one dozen of their retail outlets for watches in the last year, citing high levels of competition as the reason. Rolex, too, is finding it hard to penetrate the Chinese market. Both companies are sticking it out, waiting and hoping for an upturn.
The high costs of authentic products (inflated by duties and other import costs), and the ever prevalent options to buy a quality fake Rolex, even a replica Rolex Submariner, the perennial classic, it is easy to see how this market is difficult to crack. But for Rolex and Vacheron Constantin watches, a population of 1 billion with increasing wealth is too good to ignore. The question is whether or not it is as easy to ignore the number of Chinese sporting a replica Rolex Submariner rather than the number sporting a genuine Rolex.