Swiss luxury watch exports keep climbing as Hong Kong orders surge

Swiss watch exports jumped in March as orders from Hong Kong surged after the Chinese territory reopened from harsh COVID-19 restrictions, bolstering strong global demand for luxury timepieces.

Exports climbed 13.8 percent by value to 2.4 billion Swiss francs ($2.7 billion), with shipments increasing by almost 62 percent to Hong Kong, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said on Tuesday.

Global demand for Swiss luxury timepieces spiked during the pandemic and has remained robust despite economic headwinds.

Exports surged to a record of more than 24 billion francs in 2022.

Exports by volume of timepieces also rose during the month. The industry exported almost 300,000 additional watches in one month, an increase of 24 percent compared with March 2022, for a total of more than 1.5 million.

The number of watches exported priced at less than 200 Swiss francs jumped by 34 percent, likely driven by the continued popularity of Swatch Group AG’s Omega MoonSwatch collaboration.

There were, however, signs of cooling in demand from the biggest market for Swiss watches. Growth in exports to the US slowed to a 7.8 percent increase in March after jumping by almost 16 percent in February.

Top Swiss watch brand CEOs from Patek Philippe to Oris Watches told Bloomberg this month that there were early signs of a slowdown in demand from consumers and retailers from the unprecedented levels reached during the pandemic.

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