PARIS – Swiss watch sales rose 25.8 percent in December to 1.54 billion Swiss francs, or $1.59 billion, helping to drive a 22.1 percent increase for 2010 as a whole, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said.

The value of watch exports last year totaled 16.16 billion Swiss francs, or $15.53 billion, slightly above the level recorded in 2007.

Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the periods in question.

“The decline in 2009 has not been fully erased, since the sector has still to return to its level of 2008. The latest results indicate, however, that the recovery is based on firm foundations and is set to continue in 2011, even though as yet not all players and regions are benefiting to the same extent,” it said.

The December increase was fueled by China, where sales were up 71.2 percent year-on-year, and Hong Kong, with a 58.9 percent increase. Within Europe, France stood out with a 37.4 percent jump.

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