With coronavirus scaring the bejesus out of the luxury Swiss watch industry, memories of a record-breaking 2019 are fading fast.
But the Swiss watch industry — or at least the part of it without shareholders breathing down its neck — is masterful at taking a long term view, so it should be noted and remembered that 2019 was another solid, if unremarkable year.
According to the Federation of Swiss Watch Industry, global exports in 2019 increased by 2.6% to CHF 21.7 billion; the strongest year in history; finally topping the previous record year of 2015.
Despite six months of street protests, Hong Kong was the largest market in the world once again, with exports worth CHF 2.7 billion. The United States was second with CHF 2.4 billion and China third at CHF 2.0 billion.
Exports to the United Kingdom rose by 10.8% to a record CHF 1.4 billion, making it the fifth largest market in the world for Swiss watches, just behind Japan, which benefited from the Hong Kong protests and increased by 20% to CHF 1.6 billion.