PARIS — Swiss watch exports rose by 24.4 percent in February, a record performance for the month, driven by high-end timepieces, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said on Thursday.
“This is by far the best February performance for the sector and was reflected in most markets,” the federation said.
Foreign sales of Swiss timepieces totaled 2 billion Swiss francs, or $2.13 billion at current exchange, fueled by a 28.3 percent rise in value terms of sales of watches priced at more than 3,000 Swiss francs. Those in the 500 francs to 3,000 francs range grew by 16.4 percent, while the segment below 500 francs was up just 4.8 percent.
The gains were led by the U.S., up 33.3 percent, and China, which gained 22.4 percent. Saudi Arabia was an exception, with a decrease of 11.8 percent, while Hong Kong enjoyed a rare bump, with an increase of 11.9 percent.
In Europe, the U.K., France and Italy were in line with the average, while Germany and Spain outperformed with jumps of 37.3 percent and 54.1 percent, respectively.
Luca Solca, analyst at Bernstein, said the February performance was partly due to low comparative numbers for the same month last year, when most of the world remained in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. He noted that the U.S. reached 15 percent of total export share, above China at 11.8 percent, confirming a recent trend.
Watches made from precious materials recorded the strongest growth, with an increase of 31.7 percent in value terms. Steel watches posted a 23.1 percent rise, and watches made from other metals were up 21.2 percent, the federation reported.