Drop in Swiss exports attributed to gold watches

Swiss watch industry exports fell in value by 3.9% in May year-on-year to CHF 1.8bn (£1.3bn), according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

A statement said that levels remained high but suffered from an unfavourable base effect. The decline in May has been attributed to gold watches, which experienced a 13.9% unit drop and a 12.2% value decline. Additionally, in terms of value, bi-metallic timepieces were said to have lost ground slightly while steel products recorded a positive trend of a 2.1% increase in terms of value.

The report also found that the total number of timepieces exported remains in steady decline, with the other metal categories pulling figures down. Over five months, 840,000 fewer watches were exported, which is a decline of 7.3%.

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It was only watches with an export price of between CHF 200 (£139) and CHF 500 (£347) that showed a positive result in May. This was said to be significant but impacted only a limited number of timepieces.

Watches at less than CHF 200 (£139) saw a volume reduction of 14.2%; while those between CHF 500 (£347) and CHF 3,000 (£2,084) experienced a decline of nearly 7%. Watches that cost more than CHF 3,000 (£2,084) recorded their first monthly decline in more than three years. However, this was said to be a relatively minor setback because the vale fell by 4.1% from an extremely high level in May 2012.

In terms of the main markets, a two-digit decline was registered by Hong Kong, China and France, while the USA recorded a value that was comparable to May 2012 and Italy and Germany continued to grow, but at a slower rate.

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