Swiss watch exports rise by 3%

First published: 25-07-2014

The number of Swiss-made watches that are being shipped to various locations across the globe has increased by three per cent in the first six months of 2014. 

According to WatchPro, timepieces worth 10.5 billion swiss francs (CHF) (£6.85 billion) in total were exported in this period, which shows how the demand for watches is not showing any sign of waning. 

In June alone, 2.4 million chronographs were sent around the world from Switzerland, which came to a value of CHF 1.9 billion. This represents a year-on-year hike of 1.4 per cent. Such an increase has been attributed to the inflated demand for timepieces made from precious metals.

Products made from steel and bimetal have remained largely unchanged from the figures released this time last year. Watches made from substances such as titanium plummeted by 20.5 per cent, suggesting demand for this kind of item is falling quickly. 

On the other hand, ceramic and carbon fibre-made timepieces seem to have really gained traction as they leapt by almost 30 per cent. 

In good news for the industry as a whole, the interest in watches in pretty much every price band rose over the first half of 2014. 

Even though a decline in value of 2.8 per cent across the cheapest category (less than CHF 200) was noted, this section showed a huge demand of 6.9 per cent. 

What is interesting is the fact that half of the 30 main export markets revealed lower figures than normal, despite this data being encouraging reading. 

It transpired Japan recorded 20.4 per cent growth in orders, while Italy had 14.5 per cent. The former market has been experiencing a mini revival since the latter part of 2013. 

Data for the entirety of last year showed that exports were worth CHF 21.8 billion, fuelled by the desire for high-ticket watches. With the first half of 2014 coming in at 10.5 billion, there is every chance that the whole year's total could trump this figure, especially as last year growth proved stronger in the second six-month period. This is perhaps due to the run up to Christmas, but only time will tell whether or not this will happen again. 

Such news comes in light of the fact that this sector recently announced it had the largest ever number of employees on its ranks. In comparison to 2013, the workforce in the watch making and micro-engineering sector is 2.6 per cent bigger, totalling 57,286 individuals, according to the Employers' Federation of the Swiss watch industry. 

This figure is notably higher than the previous all-time peak of 53,300, which was recorded in 2008. In addition to this, there are 572 firms in the industry - eight more than last year's tally. 

One thing is for sure - it is certainly set to be an exciting few months for the global timepiece industry. With the London Watch Show attracting record numbers at the beginning of July, the future looks quite promising for those in this business. 

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