European Swiss watch sales stall but Asia surges

BASELWORLD 2009 - The World Watch and Jewellery Show

Exports by Switzerland’s watch makers rose for the fifth consecutive month in May, according to the latest report from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Despite a strengthening Swiss franc against major currencies, sales in May increased by 13 percent to CHF 1.2 billion.

Wristwatches in the CHF 200-500 price range performed best with an increase of over 30 percent in sales over May 2009.

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Watches priced at under CHF 200 and those in the CHF 500-3,000 range increased by just under 10 percent, while the ultra luxury category, priced upwards of CHF 3,000, increased by 14.2 percent in revenue and 23.7 percent in unit sales.

Sales to European markets were flat or sharply down in May. Germany registered a 24 percent slump in imports of Swiss watches; Italy was up a mere 0.2 percent and France was up 3.4 percent.

However, Asia and the United States continued to strengthen. Hong Kong imports topped CHF230 million in May, up 30 percent on 2009; US imports were CHF 138 million, up 12 percent.

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