Swiss watch exports in 2002 were “better than forecast,” according to a Feb. 6 report from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Export value in 2002 matched that of 2001, and last year’s rise in the volume of exports ended a decade-long decline in export numbers. For the year as a whole, export value totaled 10.6 billion Swiss francs (nearly $8 billion), only 0.1% below 2001 figures.
The number of completed timepieces exported rose by almost 450,000 units (1.7%), to 26.8 million pieces. This marked the end of a 10-year decline in the number of exported watches. Their value totaled 9.7 billion francs (almost $7.2 billion)—0.4% higher than in 2001.
Gold watches showed a 0.9% gain in terms of value, while platinum watches—though a tiny niche—grew substantially (+17.2%). Top-selling stainless-steel watches (roughly half of all Swiss watch exports) rose 1.5% in value (a gain of almost $43.4 million) and 9.8% in volume. Plastic, aluminum, and silver watches “performed less well” than in 2001, says the Federation.