Swatch Group first-half sales rose 13 percent

Swatch Group AG, Biel, Switzerland, said its first-half net profit rose 24 percent Thursday on strong demand for its luxury watch brands and positive currency effects, The Associated Press reports.

The world’s largest watchmaker’s profit of $265.7 for the period exceeded its profit figure of $213.3 for the first six months of 2005.

“The excellent figures for the first half of 2006 are primarily attributable to the strong demand for watches in all price categories, but particularly in the top price segment,” the company said in a statement.

Swatch, which owns several luxury brands like Breguet and also produces lower-price Swatch models, said first-half sales rose 13 percent to $1.90 billion, from $1.7 billion for the first six months of last year. Swatch does not break out quarterly figures.