By Michelle Graff
The Omega Speedmaster 57 Vintage Dial (pictured here), along with the brand’s Co-Axial Globemaster collection, were among Swatch Group’s top sellers in 2015, the company said this week.

Biel/Bienne, Switzerland--Swatch Group saw sales dip in 2015, stung by the strength of the Swiss franc and weakness in Hong Kong, the biggest market in the world for Swiss watches.

Net sales totaled $8.5 billion in 2015, down 0.9 percent from the previous year at constant exchange rates, and 3 percent lower at current exchange rates, the Swiss watchmaker said in a statement released Wednesday.

The Watches & Jewelry segment, including production, generated net sales of $8.2 billion, a 0.8 percent drop at constant exchange rates.

Overall, Swiss watch industry exports were down 3 percent for the year in value terms. They dropped 23 percent to Hong Kong and were down 0.8 percent to the United States, the world’s second biggest market for Swiss watches.
Swatch’s net income totaled $1.13 million, a 21 percent drop from the previous year spurred by foreign exchange losses and negative interest rates in Europe.

The Omega Co-Axial Globemaster collection, the Speedmaster 57 Vintage Dial and the Swatch Sistem 51, the mechanical Swatch watch introduced in 2013, were the year’s bestsellers. In addition, the company’s “smart” introductions, the Swatch Touch Zero One and the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, were “very positively received by consumers,” Swatch said.

Despite the down year and the challenges worldwide, Swatch said it expects sales to grow 5 percent year-over-year in 2016, citing positive growth in January, particularly in mainland China. The watchmaker said it expects Omega’s sponsorship of the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer to give the brand a boost, and also said it expects Tissot’s new position as the official timekeeper for the NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League in the U.S. to generate more sales, both in North America and worldwide.
One analyst called Swatch’s forecast for 5 percent growth “optimistic” given the slowing of economic growth in China and forecasts 1 percent growth for the group.

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