I have said it for years, and perhaps now the Swiss will finally listen.
America has always had the potential to outspend any other nation on luxury goods, but inexplicably trailed either Hong Kong, China or both for over a decade in Swiss watch imports.
Now the United States — too often seen as too complicated and too far away by European watchmakers — is likely to end 2021 as the biggest market in the world for Swiss watches.
In 2010, for every dollar spent importing Swiss watches into the United States, Hong Kong spent two.
That is likely to be turned on its head for 2021.
China has been strong in 2021, with the value of exports up 31% over last year, but the USA has been even stronger with growth of 56% for the first 11 months of the year.
By the end of November, the USA had already imported watches worth CHF 2.8 billion, higher than any full year total in history.
For November, alone, Swiss watches worth CHF 300 million were imported into this country, so 2021 is on track to top CHF 3 billion for the first time.
Exports to China in November were worth CHF 239 million. If matched in December, China will finish 2021 on CHF 2.98 billion.
It will be close, but Americans should strut into the European watch shows next year as the most important customers in the world.