By  on April 24, 2014

PARIS — Swiss watch exports declined 0.3 percent in March, as wristwatches put on a mixed show, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported on Thursday.

Foreign sales of Swiss timepieces totaled 1.6 billion Swiss francs, or $1.8 billion at average exchange rates for the period.

By region, exports to Japan remained buoyant with five consecutive months of steep rises, according to the federation. The U.S., on the other hand, fell 12.1 percent, which the federation shrugged off as monthly variations. “The first-quarter results for the region were positive, up 3.2 percent and in line with expectations,” it said.

Hong Kong was up 9.3 percent, while China edged down 1.7 percent. Both regions demonstrated signs of recovery, according to the federation.

Overall, “the first quarter, which saw a 4.5 percent higher result than in 2013, therefore marked a very good start to the year for exporting companies,” the federation observed.

Gold watches fell 5.2 percent in value terms in March, but sales of steel pieces were up 2.1 percent. Watches made of other materials soared 18.6 percent.

Wristwatches in the 200 to 500 Swiss franc range, or $227 to $568, again outperformed other price categories, climbing 23.3 percent, while those priced below 200 Swiss francs, or $227, contracted by 10.5 percent in volume terms, the federation said.

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