Cartier owner destroys more than £400m of watches in two years

The Swiss watchmaker Richemont has destroyed nearly €500m (£437m) of its designer timepieces over the past two years to avoid them being sold at knockdown prices. The Geneva-based luxury goods group behind Cartier and Montblanc said it bought back €203m of unsold watches last year That was on top of the €278m of Cartier watches, which start at £1,000 but can cost more than £20,000, it reclaimed from jewellers in 2017. When the Richemont chief executive, Richard Lepeu, who retired last year, initiated the policy in 2016, he described it as an “exceptional measure” in “exceptional circumstances”. The company took action after stocks of its wristwatches began building up in display cabinets in Asian markets amid a crackdown on corruption in China, where luxury products such as watches and whisky had been dished out as lavish gifts to curry favour with officials, as well as a wider sales slowdown It was worried that. More