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Optimism at the Swiss Watch Federation

Optimism at the Swiss Watch Federation

Thursday, 27 November 2008
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

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While some may see the glass as half-empty, for others it is clearly half-full. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) is one such optimist.

“Granted, we don’t yet have any real visibility concerning the last quarter’s statistics, but it would take a disaster for the year to turn sour,” commented the Federation’s president, Jean-Daniel Pasche. “My personal impression, based on recent contact with professionals in the sector, is that companies are split between measured optimism and a degree of uncertainty, to the extent that no one can say for sure what the near future holds.”

The fact remains that the FH takes a confident view for the current financial year, and expects the branch overall to continue to grow in 2009. Even if next year’s forecast rise in sales falls short of the increases seen since 2004, this would be a performance in itself after five consecutive years of growth, given the largely negative base effect. In other words, after five years of double-digit growth, watch companies will be hard pressed to turn in a repeat performance in the years to come.

Two other reasons for Jean-Daniel Pasche’s confidence in the segment’s future is companies’ strong positioning on growth markets, Asia and the Gulf countries in particular, and the efforts poured into innovation, research and development that will continue to bear fruit. Says Jean-Daniel Pasche, “Watchmaking is in a better position to weather this storm than other branches.”

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