Swiss watch exports were up 21.7% last month, marking the strongest growth by month in H1 and a positive turn of events against a forecasted 2012 slowdown, says the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS).
Last month’s exports totalled CHF1.9 billion (£1.2bn), meaning the first half of the year has surpassed the CHF10 billion (£6.5bn) mark, representing an increase of 16.4% in H1 compared to 2011.
The largest area of growth was gold watches, which are said to have underpinned June’s increase. Steel and bi-metallic watches also increase in export value but at a below-average level.
In fact, compared to June 2011, the total number of timepieces exported had fallen, a trend the FHS says “is aligned with gradual stabilisation”. Steel watches and those in the category of other materials “played a key role in this development”.
Exports of gold wristwatches were up 18.7%, while steel watch exports fell 6.6%. Other material watches, such as ceramic or titanium timepieces, were up 12.7% last month, compared to June 2011.
In terms of the best markets for Swiss watch exports, Hong Kong and the USA continue to dominate, with watches worth a total CHF4.4 million (£264m) exported to Hong Kong, and the USA welcoming timepieces totalling CHF194.8 million (£127m).
France, Italy, China and Germany followed respectively, with the six countries totalling a market share of 56.4%, with Hong Kong accounting for 21.2% alone. Exports to mainland China suffered from a particularly unfavourable base effect, having been up 78.9% in June 2011.
The FHS’s latest export figures also revealed that watches costing less than CHF200 export price (£130) which recorded a decline of 9.1% while maintaining their value. Watches prices between CHF200 and CHF3,000 (£1,955) exhibited an increase, with exports up 2.5% by value and 6.5% in volume terms.
Watches with price tags upwards of CHF3,000 continued their strong growth, with their export value increasing 34.4%.
“This result accentuated the slowdown experienced on this market since beginning of the year, which remains however well above 2011 levels,” said the FHS’s release.
“Europe bounced back, thanks in particular to very strong growth in Germany. Italy also contributed to this good performance and, to a lesser extent, France.”