A Vacheron Constantin staff holds a Quai de l'Ile watch with a moon phase in the watch maker's headquarters in Plan-les-Ouates near Geneva March 25, 2014. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
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At Vacheron Constantin, which like Jaeger is owned by Richemont, customers can choose from a broad range of options on the Quai de l'Ile watch.Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca said that, while still small, the market for customized watches would certainly grow as it increased perceived exclusivity and supported price premiums.On just two days this week, shoppers can customize a pair of shoes from the heels to the fabric at one of its London stores.But watchmakers have relied on limited editions to satisfy their clients' taste for rare objects.Swiss watch exports, the best indicator for the size of the market, rose 1.9 percent to 21.8 billion francs last year, markedly less than the double-digit increases of past years.It now makes only 1,000 timepieces a year with a strong focus on jewelry watches.Analysts say mass customization – where customers choose from a number of predefined options – has huge potential, while truly tailor-made watches like those offered by Buccellati will remain a niche because brands want to keep the final say on designs.Vacheron Constantin has created a bespoke service that makes 30-40 pieces per year to satisfy customers that want to go beyond its Quai de l'Ile mass customization offer.
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