Volumes of Swiss watch exports fall sharply
The slowdown in growth that began in late 2018 and the high basis for comparison pointed to a relatively flat start to 2019. Ultimately, however, watch exports for the first half of the year performed better than expected. While part of the increase can be attributed to particular circumstances, such as anticipating the effects of Brexit and an exhibition of rare items in China, overall performance remained positive and points to an encouraging trend in the sector for the year as a whole. Watch exports reached the equivalent of 10.7 billion Swiss francs during the first half of the year, an increase of 1.4%. While performance improved by +2.9% in the first quarter, the second three months of the year suffered from the sharp decline in June, causing results to stagnate. Exports of wristwatches accounted for 94% of total value and amounted to 10.0 billion francs, an increase of 1.3% compared with the first half of 2018. The trend for the number of items sold was markedly different. The drastic decline that began last year worsened during the first half of 2019 and the sector has seen volumes fall by 14.1% in six months, a drop of over 1.6 million timepieces.