The Swiss watch industry has suffered more morale-sapping news from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) with its latest report on world exports showing a 6.1% year-on-year fall for the month of January.
With Baselworld just a month away, the market can take some encouragement that the protracted decline in exports has bottomed-out, with the 12 month moving average improving slightly in January.
The UK posted a year-on-year increase from January 2016 to January 2017 of +0.9%. In the past 12 months, Swiss businesses have exported watches worth over CHF 1.2 billion; virtually level with Japan (CHF 1.2 billion) and China (CHF 1.3 billion).
The UK is cementing its position as the largest export market in Europe, with sales over the past 12 months to Italy (CHF 1.1 billion), Germany (CHF 1.1 billion) and France (CHF 0.96 billion) all lower than those to this country.
Italy, Germany and France all registered significant falls in January, while the UK rose slightly.
Globally, all price segments posted a fall; and this was more substantial for the lower ranges, FH described.
Watches priced at over CHF 3000 (export price) were the least affected, contrary to the situation in 2016. Their value was down by 4.2%.
The situation also began to ease in Hong Kong, where January reported a moderate fall after a negative spiral lasting for two years. The positive trend which had begun in December was maintained in the United States, with an increase of 5% in January. China experienced its fourth consecutive month of growth and so holds out favourable prospects for the year 2017.