April 30, 2004
Swiss Watch Exports Best Ever for March
Swiss watch sales to U.S. buyers during March jumped 19.3% when compared to purchases last March, reports the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Globally, the year-to-year figures were the Federation's best ever for the month of March. For the first three months of this year, Swiss watch exports globally increased 7%, a figure that confirms the Federation's forecast for a year of recovery in the Swiss timepiece industry.
The strong showing in the figures also echoes the optimistic sentiment noted by watch manufacturers and U.S. buyers who visited the major timepiece exhibitions in Basel and Geneva.
Most types of watches showed volume (by value) increases during the first quarter of this year. Gold was up 4.3%, platinum sales increased 8.3%, steel watches were up 15.1% and aluminum or plastic items also rose nearly 19%. Only silver, gold-plated and gold-steel models reported export drops. In addition to the increases to the U.S., sales jumped in Japan and Hong Kong while skyrocketing in Singapore by 76.1%. European countries remained stable or dropped somewhat as the economies of Germany, Italy and France continue to struggle. A recent hot-spot, the U.K., also showed marked declines in orders from Swiss firms.
by Michael Thompson