Swiss Watchmakers See Positive Start to 2015

The year 2015 got off to a good start for watch exports, after two less favorable months, the Swiss Federation of Watchmakers reported.

At 1.6 billion francs (approximately $1 billion), their value was up 3.7% compared to January 2014. This increase was recorded on an already high base and with one less working day.

Steel watches registered a sharp rise in value terms, followed by bimetallic timepieces. However precious metals experienced a slight dip in demand.

In volume terms, the level was identical to that of January 2014. The category of other materials showed a decline but this was offset by other segments.

The best performances came from the most expensive watches. Timepieces costing more than 3,000 francs (export price) saw their value increase by 7.5%.

The 500-3,000 francs segment for its part registered a decline (-4.8%). Products between 200 and 500 francs recorded an increase of several points. Below 200 francs, volumes contracted by 2.6%.

The three leading markets for Swiss watch exports set the tone with significant gains. Hong Kong and China recorded above average increases. Meanwhile the United States continued its more modest but steady upward trend, after a very strong fourth quarter.

The frequently volatile monthly results saw an upturn of 9.9% for Singapore and a decline of 8.5% for the United Arab Emirates.

Among the smaller markets, many strong showings were in evidence in January, such as the United Kingdom (+19.2%), South Korea (+42.4%) and Taiwan (+22.6%).

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