Swiss Watch Exports to USA Drop Nearly 50% in February


The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reports that the value of Swiss watch exports to the U.S. market declined in February by 47.5% compared with February 2008 levels. For the first two months of 2009, the value of exports to the U.S.A. is down 38% compared with the same period last year. Hardest hit were watches priced at 500 to 3000 Swiss francs (about $445 to $2670 at press time), sales of which were down by more than 40% in terms of both units and value. Exports of watches priced at 200 to 500 francs or $178 to $445 were down about 33%.

Watches priced above 3000 francs fared best, registering a decline of 6.6% by value and a bit over 10% in units. Based on materials, as might be expected, steel watches were the hardest hit with exports down about 29% based on units and value. Gold/steel bimetallic watches were off about 37% based on units and value. Exports of platinum watches increased 9.7% by value while falling 13% measured in units. Looking at the bigger picture, Switzerland exported 1.4 million watches in February 2009, or 28.4% fewer than in the same month last year.

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