• Switzerland's news in English

Chinese worries hang over Basel watch show

AFP · 23 Apr 2013, 10:31

Published: 23 Apr 2013 10:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"The question at Baselworld will be to understand what is happening in mainland China," Kepler Capital Markets analyst Jon Cox told AFP ahead of the event, warning that the Chinese market prospects now seemed increasingly fragile.
The Swiss watch industry has been on an unprecedented roll over the past 
three years, with sales systematically beating expectations and putting to shame naysayers urging it to brace for the pending crisis.
Experts agree that much of the growth can be attributed to the Chinese 
consumer's recent and seemingly insatiable appetite for luxury goods.
In 2012, Swiss watch exports soared to historic altitudes, for the first 
time passing the 21-billion-franc ($22-billion) mark, with exports to China accounting for six billion francs, or 28 percent of the total.
But since late last year there have been numerous signs that the Chinese 
bonanza is winding down, as growth in the world's second largest economy has slowed.
Nick Hayek, the head of Swatch Group, which in addition to the famous 
brightly-coloured plastic watch brand also owns a long line of high-end, luxury brands, like Breguet and Blancpain, cautioned investors at the beginning of March that the growth rates up to 30 percent they had grown accustomed to could not last in the long run.
Financial analysts are meanwhile grappling to get a full picture of what is 
happening in the Chinese market, since Asian retailers in recent months have been working to lighten their inventories, possibly skewing the picture.
Despite the vibes of uncertainty in the industry, the 1,460 exhibitors, 
including leading watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Omega, and some of the some of the biggest names in jewellery like LVMH's Bulgari and Harry Winston, which was recently acquired by Swatch Group, are expected to put on a dazzling show.
"This year at Baselworld, I think we'll again see a big push on 
technological innovation, with more and more complications on the prestigious watch brands, and on new materials, Vontobel analyst Rene Weber analyst told AFP.
A highlight of this year's event, which is expected to draw some 100,000 
visitors, could come from LVMH's high-end brand Hublot, which has partnered with prestigious Italian carmaker Ferrari to make its new Masterpiece LaFerrari.
The watch sets a new world record in mechanical movement, only needing to 
be wound every 50 days, or around 1,200 hours, easily beating the previous record of 40 days, the brand told AFP.
Hayek of Swatch Group, the world's leading watchmaker, is meanwhile 
tightlipped about the Swatch brand's promised "revolutionary innovation", which will go on display at this week's show.
Exhibitors are set to descend on Basel to show off their merchandise to the 
media on Wednesday and to the public starting Thursday and until May 2nd.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available