Swiss Watch Exports Bounced Back in August Thanks to Strong U.S. Demand

Well, that didn’t last long.

Swiss watch exports rose in August, just one month after decreasing for the first time in more than two years, according to Bloomberg. And U.S.-based enthusiasts and collectors deserve a large part of the credit for the rebound.

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Shipments of the country’s timepieces rose by more than four percent to 1.8 billion francs (about $2 billion), according to a report released Tuesday by the Federation for the Swiss Watch Industry. Exports increased to five of the industry’s six main markets, which account for 55.4 percent of the total market. Leading the way was the U.S., which saw shipments increase by 13.5 percent to 298.7 million francs ($332.5 million).

The increase comes one month after exports fell by 3.3 percent. Shipments to the U.S. were up that month, but only by 5.2 percent, illustrating how important the market is to the industry (exports to the U.S. did fall in April, though). August’s strong export performance comes at a time when brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Omega are raising prices in an attempt to offset growing manufacturing costs.

It’s not all good news, though. Exports to the U.S. may be on the rise, but they’re falling to China, the industry’s second biggest market. Shipments to the country plunged by 27 percent in August, the second major decline in as many months (they fell by 16.6 percent in July). Fortunately, that was offset by an increase in exports to the third- and fourth-largest markets, Hong Kong (where exports rose by 29 percent) and the U.K. (21.5 percent). Shipments also increased to Japan (8.7 percent) and Singapore (3.5 percent). In total, exports to the industry’s six main markets increased by 3.6 percent to 1 billion francs ($1.1 billion).

Despite July’s blip, the Swiss watch industry is doing well for itself at the moment. The Federation expects the year to finish even stronger than 2022, when the country’s watchmakers brought in a record 24 billion francs ($26.7 billion).

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