PARIS – Swiss watch sales rose 16.9 percent in January, a slowdown from the growth rate recorded in December, but a healthy performance considering a more difficult comparison with the first month of 2010, when the watch sector began to emerge from a deep crisis, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said.
The value of watch exports last month totalled 1.14 billion Swiss francs, or $1.19 billion, fuelled by sales of gold watches, which increased at twice the average rate in value terms. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the periods in question.
“In total, Swiss watch manufacturers shipped 300,000 more timepieces abroad than in 2010,” the FHS said.
Exports to Hong Kong fell by 6.1 percent, their first decline after 13 months of continuous increases. “This is no doubt an isolated variation, with little significance for the general trend, which remains very good on this market and is set to continue in 2011,” it said.
China, Singapore and South Korea continued to record double-digit growth, while sales in the United States rose 30.3 percent. The United Arab Emirates was the month’s strongest gainer, with a rise of 85.3 percent.