Swiss Watch Exports Up 19.2% in 2011

Swiss watch exports totaled 19.3 billion francs ($20.9 billion) in 2011, a 19.2 percent increase from last year.

The results were hurt by the strength of the Swiss franc, which put strain on margins and selling prices. However the sector drew strength from steady demand and a greater presence worldwide, particularly on high-potential markets less affected by exchange rate fluctuations.

Wristwatches accounted for the major share of exports, generating 94 percent of their total value. Overall, 29.8 million watches left Switzerland, the highest number since 1999.

More than one in two watches exported were manufactured from steel. Gold watches recorded the highest increase—26.5 percent—linked to an upturn in volumes of 24.2 percent.

Timepieces costing less than 200 francs export price—increased to 2.2 million units, up 11.7 percent from 2011. Between 200 and 500 francs, growth neared 20 percent, both in value and volume terms. The 500–3,000 franc range increased 14.9 percent. Watches costing more than 3,000 francs recorded the highest rate of growth in value terms—21.8 percent—generating two-thirds of the overall increase.