PARIS – In another worrisome signal for the watch industry ahead of next week’s Baselworld fair, Swiss watch exports in February dropped 22.4 percent to 1 billion Swiss francs, or $860 million at average current exchange for the month.

The total was impacted by a 47.5 percent drop in exports to the U.S. and by important declines in steel and bi-metallic products, according to a statement from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

The 500 to 3,000 Swiss francs price segment (around $425 to $2,500 at current exchange), suffered the biggest drop in sales, down by almost 50 percent compared to last February. Timepieces priced above 3,000 Swiss francs ($2,500 at current exchange) fared better, down by 6.6 percent.