Swiss watch exports to the United States soared 26 percent in February, representing the highest monthly gain for this market in six years, according to the monthly statistics released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
The number marks an end to almost two years of declines in U.S. watch exports, the group said.
January’s watch exports to the United States were not as strong, with the number falling 1.9 percent. During that month, China, traditionally the third largest market, overtook America—temporarily, as it turns out—as the second largest watch market.
Also doing well in February was the watch industry’s largest market, Hong Kong, which saw exports leap 35 percent. This also represented that market’s highest monthly gain in about six years. Exports to China rose 21.7 percent, the group said.
Japan, Germany, and Singapore posted significant growth—with exports rising 7.1 percent, 6 percent, and 7 percent, respectively—while some European markets, the United Kingdom and Italy, saw exports fall 16.8% and 13%, respectively.
The increases from Asia and the United States helped the Swiss watch industry to enjoy another strong month in February, with exports rising 12 percent over the prior year to 1.7 billion Swiss francs. Swiss watch exports also rose 12.6 percent in January.
The Federation also noted that the industry saw strong growth among all watch industry segments and price points in February.
Watches priced at between 500 and 3,000 Swiss francs (export price) saw a 19.3 jump in exports. Timepieces priced at more than 3,000 francs saw sales growth of 12.9 percent. Even items costing less than 200 francs, which had been weak for some time, achieved 7.8 percent growth in February, after falling sharply for more than one year.
Watches made out of precious metals and steel did particularly well, with their exports jumping 12.6 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, the Federation said.
Pictured: Octo L’Originale chronograph in titanium; $10,200; bulgari.com