It wasn’t last year. The amount of swiss watch exports has failed to cross the threshold of 20 billion swiss francs. It might well exceed this year. The time is not the euphoria that the industry has experienced between 2010 and 2014, but the return to growth is confirmed in earnest since last year after two years of decline. The numbers are increasing slightly in volume (+ 1.4 %) and in the first
half of 2018, and significantly in value (+ 9,3 %), mainly thanks to Asia, the engine of growth, accounting for more than half of the sales.
“Switzerland is a land of plenty,” says François Thiébaud, president – French – Tissot (Swatch Group) for nearly twenty years. They know how to maintain their respectability. It is a small territory where one lives, where things are done seriously, where the quality is palpable everywhere… This is reassuring to customers.” Yet, as we all know, the swiss watch industry back from far away. At the end of the 1970s, it came close to never recovering from the quartz crisis of and get choke by the japanese attack on the watches battery. But she knew how to save his know-how, and capitalise on its history. Spurred by the runaway success of a plastic watch become an icon, the Swatch, the sector was given the means to convince the world of the beauty and the magic of a few cogs and hand-assembled by a craftsman.
The business has reached heights in the last ten years. The number of swiss watches exported ($24.3 million in 2017) remains very much in the minority in the amount of parts sold in the world, which amounted to more than $ 1 billion. But the country Calvin won the battle of the mechanics, and the value. This is confirmed again this year. In the Face of the average price of a toquante quartz hong kong, estimated at $ 4, the industry in switzerland continues to export more models automatic, from 2.5 million to over 7 million between 2000 and 2017. Last year, the automatic timepieces were still on the rise, in both volume and value.
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China and the United States in head
All the continents are involved, from Asia to Europe to the Americas. “We can see clear enough on the map,” explains Pascal O. Ravessoud, director of the international development of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. The tastes of the customers and the forces in presence, as well as the growth potential, emerge and are confirmed from year to year. Thus, after a complicated period due to the anti-corruption laws, the markets in china and hong kong are left more beautiful. There, to caricature it a bit, two types of clients emerge: on the one hand, those who want a label, a brand, more than a product, to demonstrate one’s social status, and, on the other hand, there is a large pool of high net worth clients and sensitive to fine watchmaking and the swiss tradition.” The opportunities are still enormous, in spite of the impressive growth that has been experienced in watchmaking in this country these past twenty years. Consider this: in 2000, the swiss watch exports to China accounted for 45 million swiss francs when they exceed today 1.5 billion…
in The United States, the second-best market, clients are looking for more than in other models sports to everyday wear and marks well installed. “This country is difficult to define, however, emphasises Pascal O. Ravessoud. First world power, very sophisticated in many aspects, it has surprisingly an approach that is fairly basic the watchmaking industry with a consumer focus on a handful of big brands. But this bodes growth prospects.” The watchmakers are looking for good ways to reverse the trend, declining in this country since 2015.
stereotypes have the hard life. The Middle East customers like the brands and the parts raucous and valuable, when those of the countries of South America – where there are some famous collectors are also attracted to models lights but more technical. The opposite of Japan, where we especially love the discretion and the round parts (the models of shape appeal to little). “In Europe, the situations are very different from country to country and are closely related to the political and economic news, highlights Pascal O. Ravessoud. England has been disrupted by the Brexit, Italy, slowed down by laws limiting the purchases in cash, France, bruised by the attacks…”
The number of swiss timepieces sold in the world is still a drop in the ocean of watches made in China… but the country Calvin won the battle of the mechanics.
events to preach the good word
Overall, everywhere in the world, customers are increasingly better informed and more sensitive at a fair price. The special editions intended for a country multiply and often sell very well. Partnerships with events or personalities, have a strong local influence on the turnover. “We are seeing a general demand growing for the classics, except in the United States, where we sell a majority of the sports products, as a result of our agreement with the NBA,” says, and François Thiébaud, who was also seen in the peaks of sales in France during the Tour de France which he is the official timekeeper. In Asia, the brands organize more and more campaigns dedicated with local stars. And this brings its fruits. The evolution of the distribution with our own stores, as well as the transformation of communication via the social networks allow brands being closer to their end customers. Finally, while trade fairs such as Basel know many defections, those of haute horlogerie is open to the public, multiply the four corners of the planet. To convert ever more of the faithful.