PARIS — Exports of Swiss watches fell 31.9 percent in June, the steepest decline since the beginning of the year, reflecting wilting demand for expensive timepieces amid the economic crisis.
In the first half of 2009, total watch exports showed a 26.4 percent drop, totaling 6.1 billion francs, or $5.7 billion at average exchange rates.
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.
“The lack of visibility and confidence makes all forecasting difficult,” the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry stated.
In general, wristwatches selling for more than 500 francs, or $466, experienced the most severe declines. Products worth between 200 francs, or $186, and 500 francs were the least affected, with a decline restricted to around 10 percent.
Citigroup Inc. analyst Thomas Chauvet said in a research note that Swiss watch industry trends could remain weak for another few months, reflecting continued destocking among distributors, weak consumer demand, reduced travel flows and unfavorable comparisons with 2008 sales until September.
“We believe the end of the year could be a catalyst for Swatch Group and Richemont,” Chauvet said.
With the exception of South Korea, all major markets reported declines. Exports to the U.S. saw the worst drops, falling by 43.3 percent, while declines in the main European markets were more moderate.
The extent of the decline in the U.K. was mitigated by the weakness of sterling, with exports down 13.7 percent.
Several Swiss watchmakers have laid off staff as the global financial crisis hit demand for expensive timepieces. Last month, luxury watchmaker Zenith said it had begun consultations to reduce its 220-strong staff, while Geneva-based Franck Muller eliminated almost half of its 428-person workforce.
“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