Watch Industry Still Growing

Posted on 22 March 2007 by Klebnikov

According to Jean-Daniel Pasche, the president of the Federation Hologere, the Swiss watch industry is beating all records of profitability.

The Swiss luxury watch industry is exceeding all profit expectations and increasing its exports markedly; in the month of February alone, exports reached roughly $ 1 billion, which represents a rise of over 20% over February 2006. Such sales have never been seen before in the early months of the year when sales are traditionally slow. The boom is providing a large impetus to job growth in Switzerland and to opportunities for work in the Swiss marketplace.

Variation in sales over the months of the year is approximately 12%. Over 1.8 million watches were exported last month.

woman-with-watchAccording to Pasche, growth depends on the watch sector’s continued investment in research. “We are benefiting from the general health of the world economy and, also, the attractiveness of our products. Over the last 10 years, patent registration has significantly risen. The development of new materials for diminishing friction within watch mechanisms has grown, as has general reliability of components.”

Pasche asserts that while last year there were a few lagging segments of the watch making sector, this year the all the segments of the watch industry are showing strong growth. This year, like the preceding years, the largest growth is in high end luxury watches. The luxury watch industry has become a huge source of work in Switzerland providing employment opportunities in many related fields.

“The progression of the markets in Russia and China is not new but it is still growing and we’re benefiting from it. While we’re doing strongly on our traditional markets, it is helping us considerably to be experiencing developing sales on these emerging markets – this bodes well for the longevity of our success.”

The United States remains the largest export market for Swiss watches, just ahead of Hong Kong and Japan. However, Russia, with a growth of over 150%, is the most promising export market, along with China, which registered 56% growth.

Market growth has affected all price ranges of watches, though the high end (over CHF 3000) has shown the largest growth in sales.

With the sector booming, the various brands are having a difficult time recruiting qualified watchmakers, micro-technicians, and other specialists. Many job openings take months to fill and the several dozen competing brands in the luxury industry have adopted the habit of poaching each other’s employees.

Several renowned brands are located in Neuchatel: Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Christian Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Mont-Blanc, Nina Ricci. Many others are in the Geneva area.

The website has an assemblage of practicall all the major luxury brands — a fine point of departure for the jobseeker, career-executive, or quidam looking for work in Switzerland in the watch industry.

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