PARIS — Swiss watch exports declined 12.3 percent in October, impacted primarily by intense contractions of the main markets of Asia and the United States.
Exports for the month — traditionally among the biggest sales-wise of the year — were 2 billion Swiss francs, or $2.18 billion, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
It said the weak result could also have been caused by an unfavorable base effect and one fewer working day in October.
The value of exported wristwatches fell 12.7 percent, and in volume terms the business contracted 8.7 percent.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
Sales to Hong Kong, the world’s top market for Swiss timepieces, fell 38.5 percent in October, marking its most severe setback of the year. In the United States, sales retreated 12.2 percent, following a poor September.
“These two consecutive months of decline brought to an abrupt halt the steady growth that had prevailed hitherto,” the federation stated.
Meanwhile, sales declined 5.1 percent to China, which was mechanically affected by one less working day; 4.7 percent to Germany, and 4.1 percent to Italy. Exports to Japan remained practically flat, up just 0.1 percent, despite a high base of comparison.
On the rise were the United Kingdom, where exports gained 11.5 percent, and France, where sales advanced 7.1 percent.
Exports were primarily affected by drops in sales of steel and precious metal watches, which retreated 11.7 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively. All categories posted a decline in value terms, while on a volume basis, gold-steel and other metals registered gains of 16.2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Every price segment of watches struggled in October. Sales of timepieces priced between 200 Swiss francs and 500 Swiss francs, or $217 and $544, declined 13.2 percent. Exports of watches costing more than 3,000 Swiss francs, or $3,262, decreased 14.3 percent, while those of timepieces below 200 Swiss francs and between 200 Swiss francs and 500 Swiss francs, or $544, were somewhat less pronounced.