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Swiss Watch Exports Have Skyrocketed to the Highest Monthly Level in 7 Years

The increase was prompted by the sharp demand for Swiss watches made from precious metals.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116519 LN in White Gold Rolex

It’s no secret that the watch market has been booming, and now there’s even more proof.

In the wake of two multimillion-dollar Geneva watch auctions held by Christie’s and Sotheby’s, respectively, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) has announced that exports of luxury timepieces are continuing on an upward trajectory.

In the month of October, exports totaled an eye-popping CHF 2.1 billion (approximately $2.26 billion at current exchange), which is the highest monthly figure in seven years. For context, that’s an increase of 12.5 percent year-on-year, as well as a 4.8 percent jump from October 2019.

According to the FHS, the increase was driven mainly by demand for high-end timepieces crafted from precious metals. Exports in this category—that is, watches priced over $3,200—saw double-digit growth both in value and the number of items exported.

Rolex Swiss Headquarters

Rolex Swiss Headquarters.  Courtesy of Rolex

At the other end of the spectrum, exports of watches worth less than $3,200 fell sharply. As such, the total amount of timepieces leaving the landlocked European country also dropped significantly. Some 1.6 million wristwatches were exported from Switzerland this past October, which is a 17.4 percent decrease compared with the same month two years ago. While less wrist candy left the country, the uptick in expensive timepieces is what spurred this impressive $2 billion October.

The figures also showed that the burgeoning US market snapped up the majority of the timepieces. The country claimed 14.5 percent of Swiss exports for October, which equates to more than $330 million worth of watches. The Chinese market experienced growth, too, nabbing a 12.6 percent share of the exports or roughly $289 million worth of timepieces. The market in Singapore also experienced double-digit growth, while exports to the UK, Germany, Italy, France and France all dropped by a few percent.

As for what has the industry ticking at such a rate, it is partly due to the fact that the watch community is growing and welcoming a younger generation of collectors. It’s high time, too.

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