Swiss Exports, Swatch Group Set New Records

The value of Swiss watch exports in 2005 topped $9.3 billion, a new record for the Swiss watch industry and 10.9 percent higher than 2004 figures, said a report by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH. Exports to the U.S. market, the top market for Swiss watches, rose 14.1 percent to $1.6 billion. Swatch Group, the world’s largest watchmaker, said its total 2005 sales rose 8.3 percent to a record $3.5 billion. Both said their record results were driven by demand for luxury timepieces, despite unfavorable economic conditions, especially in Europe. Boosting the Swiss industry’s year-end results was a 23.1 percent rise in December to $927.2 million. The Federation expects 2006 results to top 2005’s by as much as 6 percent. For Swatch Group, sales in its watch and jewelry division rose 9.4 percent. The luxury segment, particularly the Blancpain, Breguet, and Jaquet Droz

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