Swiss watch industry ticking over nicely
The value of Swiss watch and watch movement exports passed the SFr9 billion mark for the first time last year - an increase of nearly seven per cent over 1998. However, the actual number of watches sold fell by three per cent.
The value of Swiss watch and watch movement exports passed the SFr9 billion mark for the first time last year - an increase of nearly seven per cent over 1998. However, the actual number of watches sold fell by almost three per cent.
The biggest increase in turnover was registered in the last quarter of 1999. The Swiss watch industry says the record figure was due to stronger sales in the United States, the economic recovery in Asia, the weak Swiss franc, and the "millennium effect".
The value of watches and watch movements sold in the US increased by 14 per cent last year. The markets in Asia - particularly Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore - also rose sharply. And there was a marked increase in sales to other Asian countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea.
Sales in Europe were sluggish, although they improved in the second half of the year. Turnover in the Netherlands and France was particularly strong; only in Austria and Germany did the value of sales drop below the 1998 figures.
Luxury watches sold particularly well, with sales of gold watches going up by 1.9 per cent last year.
However, the watch industry says that although the value of exports has risen, the total number of watches sold has fallen, and that not all companies have benefited.
Swiss watchmakers exported 31 million watches last year - a drop of just under three per cent.
Nonetheless, the industry believes sales prospects in the coming months are good.
From staff and wire reports
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