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A Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Perpetual Calendar wristwatch, center, sits on display at the Audemars Piguet booth on the first day of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch fair in Geneva, Switzerland. Photographer: Valentin Flauraud/Bloomberg

(bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Swiss watch exports had their strongest first half in six years as demand for high-end timepieces rose in Asia and the U.S.

Shipments rose 11 percent to 10.5 billion francs ($10.5 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said in a statement Thursday. That’s also the first time they breached the 10 billion-franc mark since 2015.

The trade group forecast a smaller increase for the full year because the industry faces a more difficult comparison base in the second half. Swatch Group AG Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said Wednesday that double-digit sales growth is possible this year for the largest Swiss watchmaker.

Other highlights include:

  • First-half shipments to Hong Kong jumped 30% and rose 13% to China; up 9.1% to U.S.
  • Watches priced at less than CHF200 saw downturn, particularly in volume terms
  • Strongest growth by price point recorded by watches wholesaling for CHF500 to CHF3,000, up 17%
  • Swiss watch exports in June rose 12%

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at epfanner1@bloomberg.net, Thomas Mulier, John J. Edwards III

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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