July was not a strong month for Swiss watch industry exports. The fact that there were two fewer working days this year certainly penalised the results to some extent, but that was not the determining factor because at the same time Swiss exports were higher overall. The industry saw the value of its exports lose 14.2% compared to July 2015 at 1.6 billion francs.
Precious metal watches posted their fifth consecutive month of steeply falling sales with a considerable impact on the total result. In terms of the number of pieces, the decline was spread over several different materials, foremost among them steel, other materials and other metals, each of which lost more than 100,000 units in the space of one month.
The value of watches priced between 200 and 3,000 francs (export price) fell by 9.9% against July 2015. Sales of timepieces costing less than 200 francs and more than 3,000 francs were down by an even larger figure in the order of -16%. Volumes were particularly affected in the price range below 200 francs.
With a fall only half that reported in Hong Kong, the United States took first place in July. Nevertheless it still posted a substantial decline in line with the global average. Hong Kong fell by more than 30% after a year and a half of highly negative variations. Two European markets posted substantial growth: Italy and the United Kingdom. In both cases this followed a substantial fall in the previous month and is explained in part by a favourable base effect. France did not achieve the same performance and the downturn which began in February gathered pace. The situation in Germany, the eighth largest market, also deteriorated sharply from the month of April onwards. Growth of watch industry exports to Japan began to slow after five months of negative variations, including a double digit fall in the month of July.