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Watch industry heading for record results

Switzerland's watch industry is set to post record figures this year, with exports expected to exceed SFr10 billion ($5.95 billion).

The President of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, François Habersaat, says there are no signs that the current boom will slow down.

“The watch industry will continue its successful trend. It sells not only high quality products, but also dreams and emotions,” Habersaat told the Swiss news agency in an interview published on Thursday.

Switzerland’s third largest export earner last year sold watches and movements valued at SFr9 billion.

While some sectors of the economy are suffering from the rise in oil prices, the watch industry is indirectly benefiting from the increase. Exports to the Middle East have risen sharply.

However, Habersaat is quick to point out that record exports are not only the result of sales in the oil-producing countries.

The North American market is described as “solid”, sales have improved in South-East Asia after the crisis and good figures are also reported from the main European markets of Italy, France and Germany.

Speaking of the concentration process in the watch industry over the past 18 months, Habersaat said that brands such as Ebel, TAG Heuer, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Breguet had profited from being taken over by other companies.

Any weaknesses in marketing or distribution could be corrected, without the brands losing their independence and image, he said.

However, Habersaat warned Swiss watchmakers not to rest on their laurels, saying that the healthy world economy with a rise in purchasing power was not enough to safeguard the future of Swiss watch brands.

He urged the industry to use all its powers of creation and innovation in a world of constant change, in which a watch could under certain circumstances go out of fashion after five years.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR