Swatch Sales Dip 2.8% in 2001

The Swatch Group, the world’s largest watchmaker, saw watch sales drop 2.8% in 2001, to almost US$1.8 billion. Several of the Group’s prestigious brands, however, showed signs of growth.

Sales of watch movements and other components dipped 1.5% (to about US$824.3 million), though in terms of units produced, there was a 1% gain (to 113.4 billion).

Total revenues for the conglomerate (including watch and movements production, electronics, retail stores, jewelry, wholesale distribution, and other operations) dipped 1.9% (more than $2.4 billion) for 2001.

The Group, which makes and distributes 18 watch brands, released its results at its Biel (Bienne), Switzerland, headquarters in February.

In the past two years, the company has integrated the high-end brands Breguet, Leon Hatot, Jacquet Droz, and Glashütte-Original. Capitalizing on the brand names, the Group in 2001 opened three more Breguet stores in Cannes, New York, and Vienna; two boutiques for Blancpain and Omega in Cannes and Paris; a Glashütte sales outlet in Frankfurt; and its first multi-brand top-range store in Paris under the name Tourbillon. It also launched jewelry lines under the Breguet, Leon Hatot, and Omega names. The company said it expects “a slight drop” (about 10%) in operating profits for 2001.