Swiss Watch Exports Increase 12.2 Percent in February

PARIS — Swiss watch exports rose 12.2 percent in February, bolstered by business in all main geographic markets and each timepiece material, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said on Tuesday.

Swiss watch sales abroad generated 2.24 billion Swiss francs, or $2.31 billion, in the month. Compared to January, the sales were up 8.6 percent.

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By units, Swiss timepiece exports increased 6.2 percent, by 75,000 units, in February.

“Compared to pre-crisis levels, exported wristwatch units were 26 percent below February 2019, whilst the value of exports was 30 percent above,” Luca Solca, senior research analyst, global luxury goods at Bernstein, said in a research note.

“All the various materials made a significant contribution to February’s performance,” the FHS said.

It noted the spectacular growth in the other materials category, which was up 62.6 percent, or five times more than the average, due to a 71.6 percent surge in volumes.

Conversely, export sales of steel watches were down 6.1 percent, and those of bimetallic watches declined 15.6 percent. Both categories had a reduction in number of units sold.

“Regarding pricing, export value increased by 6 percent, supported once again by the lowest (0-200 Swiss francs) and high-priced watches (500-3,000 Swiss francs and above 3,000 Swiss francs),” Solca wrote.

The timepiece category with prices ranging from 200 francs to 500 francs once more posted a significant decline, of approximately 18 percent in both value and volume.

“The downturn trend of this segment has now lasted for years,” the FSW said in a statement.

On the flip side, thanks to the other materials category’s momentum, watches priced at less than 200 francs benefited, with sales rising 12.3 percent. That turnout confirmed the category’s pickup in 2022.

Sales of watches priced at more than 500 francs gained 13.8 percent.

By geographic region, timepiece sales in the U.S. again notched up a double-digit increase, at 15.5 percent, while exports to China were up 8.2 percent after four months of decline, bucking an unfavorable base effect.

Elsewhere in Asia, the category generated a 22.2 percent gain in Hong Kong, while sales were up 6.7 percent in Japan and 11.3 percent in Singapore. South Korea was the only market in the region where Swiss watch sales declined, by 12.2 percent.

In the United Arab Emirates, they grew 15.3 percent, while in Europe, sales advanced 6.1 percent.

“Growth in the largest markets outstripped smaller ones,” the FHS pointed out.

Exports to the U.K. rose 12.2 percent, whereas in Germany they increased 13.4 percent and in France, by 20.3 percent. However, in Italy and Spain, Swiss watch sales were up 5 percent and down 1.2 percent, respectively.

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