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Swiss watchmaking in March 2014: flat trend at the end of...
Economy

Swiss watchmaking in March 2014: flat trend at the end of the first quarter

Friday, 25 April 2014
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In the month of March, Swiss watch exports reached the same level as one year previously. After distinctly positive monthly variations, the trend this time was -0.3%. Their value stood at 1.6 billion francs. The first quarter, which saw a 4.5% higher result than in 2013, therefore marked a very good start to the year for exporting companies.

The value of steel watches increased while that of precious metal and bi-metal timepieces tended to Wristwatches by materials fall. The total number of pieces exported in March was 3.8% lower. It was influenced by steel watches and the category of other metals, while timepieces in other materials reported strong gains.

12 months moving average (Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH)

The trends differed by price segments in the month of March. Watches costing less than 200 francs (export price) fell sharply in terms both of the number of pieces and of value. On the other hand, the 200 to 500 francs segment reported strong gains. Above 500 francs, the trend proved more moderate. The 500 to 3000 francs range contracted by around 5%, while the value of timepieces priced at over 3000 francs remained flat compared to March 2013.

Main countries (Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH)
Wristwatches by price categories (Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH)

Watch exports to Hong Kong continued to recover, thanks to a significant gain in March. The United States experienced an unfavourable base effect which led to a fall that was barely representative of the trend of the past twelve months. Despite a slight monthly downturn, the trend in China continued to recover. It should soon move out of the red. Sales to Japan remained buoyant with five consecutive months of steep rises. The United Arab Emirates did slightly better than their 2013 performance, while the main European markets weakened.

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