PARIS — The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has announced its highest monthly export figures in seven years.
Swiss watch exports stood at 2.1 billion Swiss francs, or $2.26 billion at current exchange, in October, an increase of 4.8 percent compared with the same period in 2019 and 12.5 percent versus October last year.
“Although the sector has returned to its pre-crisis levels on average, significant disparities remain between its various actors,” the FHS noted.
The increase was driven mainly by a sharp increase for precious-metal timepieces, the FHS said. These saw their exports in value terms increase by 18.9 percent to 742 million Swiss francs, or $797.6 million.
Total volumes actually declined, however. Some 1.6 million wristwatches were exported from Switzerland in October, a 17.4 percent decrease in unit terms compared with the same month two years ago, as there was less demand for steel watches and a significant downturn for bi-metallic pieces.
“This situation is exacerbated by production constraints at Rolex announced in September by the company,” Bernstein analyst Luca Solca observed in a research note.
The bulk of growth came from the U.S. and China, with increases of 35.6 and 23 percent respectively compared with October two years ago. Singapore also grew significantly, with its exports up by 11.6 percent.
The situation in Europe remained more complex, however, due to declines in its biggest markets. Exports to the U.K., the largest market in Europe for Swiss watches, fell 2.3 percent, while Germany saw a drop of 6 percent, and Italy was down 9.6 percent. France declined 28.3 percent and Spain 15.6 percent.
In total, exports in the first 10 months of the year grew 1.4 percent compared with in 2019.