2011 Called “Historic Year” for Watch Industry

2011 was a “historic year” for the Swiss watch industry, Jacques J. Duchêne, president of the Baselworld Exhibitors’ Committee, said at a press conference before the opening of this year’s watch and jewelry show.

He noted that 2011 export figures totalled 19.3 billion Swiss francs, a 19.2 percent increase from the year before, largely due to “buoyant” demand from Asia. The number of pieces reached almost 30 million. And he predicted continued growth this year, due to the watch sector’s “adaptability”: “Watchmakers have done anything but rest on their laurels and have been constantly on the lookout for new sales opportunities,” he said.

Duchêne urged industry professionals to remain adaptive in the future. “In an ever more globalised economy, we must be champions of change whilst retaining our particularities,” he added.

Still he noted that the world economy has “continue to deteriorate,” which has caused problems for companies. “On top of the dramatic debt crisis in many countries, we have had the crises of the euro and the dollar and the overvaluation of the Swiss franc,” he said.

Rene Kamm, chairman and CEO of MCH Swiss Exhibitions, which puts on the fair, said that his company is modernizing the exhibit site, and will open a new complex in 2013.

“The latest modernization of the exhibition grounds is going to be even further-reaching than anything that has been undertaken in the past,” added Baselworld managing director Sylvie Ritter.

The Baselworld 2012 World Watch and Jewellery Show runs March 8–15 in Basel, Switzerland.

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