Full disclosure—I’m not one to buy jewelry at full retail. Fuller disclosure (prompted by my wife), I’m not really one to buy jewelry period, but I do buy (too many) vintage watches, also rarely at full retail. I’m either thrifty of business-minded depending on how charitable you feel. As for the venerable Tiffany & Co.? I've never really liked their watches and my sole interaction with one of their stores was buying my a daughter a small necklace for graduation a few years back. So with my bona fides set I’m here to tell you that if you’re thinking of buying something for your loved one in the signature Tiffany Blue Box you should do it now.
Why the pandering to full retail? Because Monsieur Bernard Arnualt, the head of LVMH and the greatest luxury retailer of our time, has made the determination the Tiffany & Co is an undervalued asset and has launched a takeover build with the effect that the legendary New York retailer will be part of the LVMH empire by mid-2020. And the clear premise underscoring his logic? Tiffany has plenty of room to move even further upmarket. But Tiffany is already upmarket you say? Well there’s upmarket and then there’s upmarket.
It’s a lesson I learned in Lucerne, Switzerland as a younger man, emerging from a smoky casino with a pocket full of ill-gotten Swiss francs and a desire to buy my wife something luxurious when lo and behold a Hermes store appeared. I rolled in with the equivalent of $1000 in my pocket only to be shown the selection of dog collars that were the only items in the store in my price range. I bring this up because it's well known that M. Arnault has long coveted Hermes and it's lock on the ultra high-end. Tiffany has a lock on the high-end jewelry market: quick, name another name in the market. Save for small players like H. Stern and Van Cleef and Arpels, you can't. And when it comes to holding their value, there's nothing that matches Tiffany, save maybe for Cartier. And you can bet Arnualt has got a plan to move Tiffany on up past normal luxury into Hermes territory.
So while it might hurt a bit to pony up for the blue box now, it'll hurt a lot more next Christmas.