Swiss Watch Exports to U.S. Up 13.8% in First Half

Swiss watch exports rose 15.5 percent in value in the first half of 2007, to $5.9 billion, says the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH. Precious-metal timepieces showed the highest rates of growth. The United States, the top market for Swiss watches, saw a 13.8 percent increase. Over the previous 12 months, Swiss watch exports rose 12.8 percent in value, surpassing forecasts.

For the half year, exports of complete wristwatches increased 15.4 percent in value, to $5.4 billion. During the six months, 11.8 million wristwatches left Switzerland, a gain of 3.6 percent.

All price categories showed export gains, but timepieces of $2,500-plus enjoyed the strongest gains, increasing 23.7 percent in value and 13.5 percent in volume.

The half year was positive for all 10 major markets for Swiss watch exports. The United States, with imports of $961.6 million, remains “highly attractive” for Swiss watchmakers, said FH. Hong Kong, the No. 2 market, was up 20.4 percent, but Japan rose just 2.6 percent, “confirming its slowdown,” said FH.

Europe overall increased its growth rate, with France up 15.9 percent, Italy up 14 percent, and Germany 6.2 percent. China, the ninth major market, rose 28.8 percent, and Russia, the 12th largest, was up 118.8 percent.