Swiss watch industry running like clockwork

Swiss watch industry running like clockwork
Mohammad Fahmi Mohd Shah

Swiss watchmakers are expecting record sales for 2011, the industry federation's chief Jean-Daniel Pasche said in an interview published Tuesday.

“2011 will be a good year, a record even, the forecasts for 2012 are also positive,” Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry told Le Temps newspaper.

Nevertheless, the industry was circumspect rather than euphoric about the outlook, given the European debt crisis and high unemployment rates in the United States, he added.

Pasche also noted that the margins of Swiss watchmakers, which exports almost all of their goods, were coming under pressure due to the strength of the Swiss franc against other major currencies.

While he welcomed the Swiss National Bank’s recent move to enforce a floor of 1.20 francs against the euro, he said it would be preferable for the Swiss currency to be trading at 1.30 per euro.

Latest data show that Swiss watch exports were up 16.4 percent in August, while for the first six months of 2011, they were up 19.2 percent, reaching 8,7 billion francs ($9 billion).

The industry posted record sales of 17 billion francs in 2008.

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