Swiss Watch Sales Decline

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Demand for Swiss watches have been falling way below sales projections this year, according to a report from WWD.

Swatch Group Ltd., the world’s largest watchmaker by sales, last week raised hopes for the watchmaking sector as it reported better-than-expected first-half earnings and forecast a pick up in demand in the second half, as retailers start reordering amid an improving economy. The company — whose brands range from brightly colored, inexpensive Swatch watches to handmade Breguet timepieces — was able to perform well in difficult markets thanks to its diversified portfolio. Swatch Group Ltd.’s business model is also less dependent on premium brands, which have suffered the most in the current downturn, as highlighted in the Swiss export data for July.

Although all price segments declined in July, watches costing between 200 and 500 Swiss francs, or $186 to $466, held up best, with a decline of 7 percent. More expensive ranges fell by more than 20 percent, while watches costing more than 3,000 Swiss francs, or $2,797, recorded a steeper fall than the others, falling more than 30 percent.

Gold watches and fine jewelry watches are the hardest hit and in the United States alone, the Swiss watch industry lost at least about 40% of purchase compared to last year.

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