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March Shutdown Hits Swiss Watch Exports

Shipments fall sharply in most markets.
Apr 21, 2020 9:02 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Swiss watch exports slumped in March amid continued market pressures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Shipments slid 22% to CHF 1.36 billion ($1.4 billion) for the month, with most markets declining significantly, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Tuesday. Orders from Italy plunged 58%, while supply to Hong Kong fell 41% to CHF 138.5 million ($142.6 million).

Exports to the US remained unaffected by the coronavirus — rising 21% to CHF 226.7 million ($223.5 million) — while China rebounded, increasing 11% to CHF 155.9 million ($160.6 million). However, this growth was outweighed by reduced orders from other territories, including the UK, the largest market for Swiss watches in Europe, where shipments fell 34% to CHF 88.5 million ($91.2 million).

All price categories slipped, as exports of timepieces valued between CHF 500 ($515) to CHF 3,000 ($3,089) declined 35% by value. Watches worth more than CHF 3,000 ($3,088) dropped 13%.

Exports also dipped across all watch-material categories. Shipments of timepieces made from precious metal decreased 21% to CHF 441.6 million ($454.7 million). Supply of steel watches saw one of the steepest declines, tumbling 47% to CHF 467.9 million ($481.7 million).

With exports falling by almost 700,000 units by volume in March, the federation forecast “a probable deterioration” for the coming month.

Image: A display window at a Rolex store in Paris. (Shutterstock)
Tags: China, Coronavirus, COVID-19, exports, Hong Kong, Rapaport News, Swiss watch exports, Swiss watches, Switzerland, trade, UK, US, watches
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