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Swiss watch exports tick to new record in 2013

Malcolm Curtis · 6 Feb 2014, 10:25

Published: 06 Feb 2014 10:25 GMT+01:00

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The rate of growth was less significant than in 2012, when exports rose 11 percent, but the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) said last year marked a period of “consolidation”.

Sales picked up in the second half of the year after a slow start, with exports up three percent in the last six months, FH said.

The federation said it expects exports to continue growing from a “solid base” for 2014.

In terms of units, Switzerland exported 28.1 million timpieces, one million fewer than the year before.

Exports to the country’s biggest market for watches, Hong Kong, dropped 5.6 percent to 4.1 billion francs, while those to China, the third biggest market, fell 12.5 percent to 1.4 billion francs.

But sales to the US, the second biggest market, rose 2.4 percent to 2.2 billion francs, the FH said.

Sales were also robust in Germany (up nine percent to 1.3 billion francs) and Italy (up 4.6 percent to 1.2 billion francs).

Exports to France, the sixth biggest market, fell 9.6 percent to 1.19 billion francs.

Of Switzerland’s 15 main markets, the UK (ninth biggest) showed the biggest increase in demand, jumping 18.2 percent to 953 million francs.

Story continues below…

Swatch, the country's largest  watchmaker, on Wednesday reported a record net profit for 2013 of 1.9 billion francs, up 20 percent from the previous year despite the adverse impact of the strong franc on revenues.

Also on Thursday, the Federal Customs Administration reported that overall Swiss exports remained high in 2013 but showed little growth from the previous year.

Exports totalled 201 billion francs, slightly above the level in 2012, while imports also edged up fractionally to 177 billion francs, leaving a trade surplus of almost 23 billion francs, almost unchanged from the year earlier.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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