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Swiss Watch Exports Slump on Lower Shipments to China, Hong Kong

China and the US were the two regions in which demand was strongest in July.
Exports dropped 3.8 percent by value in February to 2.15 billion Swiss francs ($2.4 billion) from a year earlier, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Tuesday. (Shutterstock)

Monthly Swiss watch exports fell for just the second time in three years, led by lower shipments to China and Hong Kong, as demand for luxury timepieces cools.

Exports dropped 3.8 percent by value in February to 2.15 billion Swiss francs ($2.4 billion) from a year earlier, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Tuesday.

The number of watches shipped from Switzerland also fell, slumping 5.2 percent to 1.2 million units.

Demand for Swiss watches and luxury timepieces surged during the pandemic as consumers stuck at home and flush with cash from government stimulus measures rushed to buy top brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe.

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Hamstrung by supply chain issues after halting production during lockdowns, many Swiss watchmakers couldn’t keep up and most brands drove up prices.

Now a reckoning is underway as wars rage in Ukraine and the Middle East and economic pressures persist. Shipments of watches priced at over 3,000 francs, which account for about 80 percent of export values, fell by 1.8 percent in February.

Exports to mainland China plunged by 25 percent from a year earlier, and Hong Kong shipments fell 19 percent. The US remained the top destination for Swiss watches, with exports rising 5.5 percent. Exports to the UK dropped 2.1 percent, the Federation said.

By Andy Hoffman

Learn more:

Swiss Watch Exports Slowing After a Record Run

Swiss watch exports hit record levels last year as watchmakers raised prices and shipments of cheaper quartz watches jumped, though the pace of growth tapered off in the second half.

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