Double digit drop in Swiss watch exports continues

A visitor take pictures of a 6300G Grandmaster Chime wristwatch of Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe at the watch industry's biggest annual trade fair "BaselWorld" in Basel on March 16, 2016. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)

Exports of Swiss watches continue to decline compared to 2015 levels, with figures for April down 11.1% wiping £140m off of orders.

The UK still managed to buck the trend with a year-on-year increase in orders of 3.7%, which totalled CHF 84.2m (£58.4m).

These results from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) come on the back of March’s disastrous slide of 16.1%, which saw CHF 282.6 (£196m) wiped off of the value of order books in a single month.


So far this year the export value of Swiss watches is already down by 9.5% compared to the first four months of 2015.

Confidence also seems to have returned to the Middle East markets with the United Arab Emirates putting in orders worth CHF 88.7m (£61.5m) a spike of 24.6% on April 2015.

High-margin precious metal watches and bimetal models suffered the biggest falls (14.4% and 13.1% respectively in terms of volumes). While watches with an export value of CHF 3,000 and above had previously bolstered export figures in 2016 they only served also dragged performance further downwards with a 14.0% slide in volumes.

Precious metal watches were hardest hit in April and exerted a clear downward effect on the overall result. The slump in steel timepieces, although fifty per cent less marked, was very significant nonetheless. In volume terms, steel products and those in the category of other metals registered steep declines. Marginal growth was seen in watches with an export value between CHF 500-3,000.

Exports to Hong Kong continued to decline for the 15th consecutive month. In April 2014 the HK market was worth CHF 370.4m (£256m) while in April 2016 it was worth CHF 216.6m (£150m). Orders from China fell by 36% while closer to home orders from Italy, Germany and France were all in decline.


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