PARIS — Exports of Swiss watches continue to fall, declining 25.9 percent in July to 1.2 billion Swiss francs, or $1.12 billion, compared with the previous year, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
Since January, watch exports have fallen 26.3 percent to 7.3 billion francs, or $6.8 billion, reflecting wilting demand for expensive timepieces amid the economic crisis. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
The Swiss watch industry has been in decline since the end of 2008, after five years of strong growth, with exports currently below 2006 levels.
Nonetheless, the July decline showed a modest recovery from June, when total exports fell 31.9 percent, the steepest decline since the beginning of the year.
Swatch Group Ltd., the world’s largest watchmaker by sales, last week raised hopes for the watchmaking sector as it reported better-than-expected first-half earnings and forecast a pick up in demand in the second half, as retailers start reordering amid an improving economy.
The company — whose brands range from brightly colored, inexpensive Swatch watches to handmade Breguet timepieces — was able to perform well in difficult markets thanks to its diversified portfolio.
Swatch Group Ltd.’s business model is also less dependent on premium brands, which have suffered the most in the current downturn, as highlighted in the Swiss export data for July.
Although all price segments declined in July, watches costing between 200 and 500 Swiss francs, or $186 to $466, held up best, with a decline of 7 percent.
More expensive ranges fell by more than 20 percent, while watches costing more than 3,000 Swiss francs, or $2,797, recorded a steeper fall than the others, falling more than 30 percent.
Gold watches suffered the biggest decline in value terms, while the performance of steel and bimetal timepieces was average, the federation said.
Exports to Hong Kong were sharply lower, down 31.7 percent, while the decline was even more sustained in the U.S., dropping 39.2 percent, as has been the case in previous months. The main European markets continued to hold up better.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast