Exports of Swiss timepieces continued on their growth track in December, albeit at a slower pace than in the rest of 2022, according to data issued Tuesday by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
After remaining on a double-digit track through the first 11 months of the year, exports of Swiss watches gained just 5.8 percent last month, to 2.02 billion Swiss francs, or $2.19 billion at current exchange. In unit terms, however, exports of Swiss wrist watches declined 12.9 percent, to 1.3 million, notably due to a drop in exports of steel timepieces, which were down 27.5 percent in volume.
The strongest growth came from watches made from precious metals, up 14.3 percent in value terms, to 751 million Swiss francs, or $815.9 million, other metals, up 19.8 percent to 130.1 million Swiss francs, or $141.35 million, and other materials, up 47 percent to 83.7 million Swiss francs, or $90.9 million. Watches priced at more than 3,000 Swiss francs, or $3,259, up 13.3 percent, were the main driver of value gains.
By country, the U.S. — the biggest market for Swiss timepieces abroad — continued to be strong, with exports up 11.5 percent to 310.4 million Swiss francs, or $337.2 million, in the final month of the year, and exports to Singapore, Japan and European markets also all saw strong gains, despite the shadow of rising inflation in Europe.
Exports to China dropped 22.5 percent to 178.4 million Swiss francs, or $193.8 million, and Hong Kong, with 147.4 million Swiss francs, or $160.2 million in value, was down 19.8 percent.
For the year as a whole, exports reached 24.8 billion Swiss francs, or $26.9 billion, a year-on-year increase of 11.4 percent. Volumes for the year were roughly stable, at an increase of 0.3 percent.