By Michelle Graff
Bienne, Switzerland--Statistics for the months of January through July show that the U.S. demand for Swiss watches is down slightly year-to-date.

According to figures recently released by The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), U.S. imports of Swiss wristwatches in volume terms declined 5 percent between January and July when compared with the same period last year. In value terms, exports rose 1 percent.

Including Canada, demand for Swiss watches was down 6 percent in volume terms and essentially flat in value terms. The American market as a whole, comprised of both North and South America, currently accounts for 14 percent of total global demand for Swiss watches.

Worldwide, FH statistics show a 6 percent decline in volume terms and a 2 percent increase in value terms for Swiss watch exports in the January-July period. Demand in volume terms fell 15 percent in Europe while increasing 15 percent in Africa and 2 percent in Asia, the world’s largest market for the timepieces.

Looking at the month of July, FH data shows that Swiss watch exports grew 4 percent in volume terms and 2 percent in value terms year-over-year. Demand in the U.S. market was essentially flat, rising less than 1 percent year-over-year in the period.

There was a “sharp” slowdown in demand for gold watches, with exports down 11 percent year-over-year.

However, exports of watches created in other metals increased. Demand for platinum (up 17 percent year-over-year), gold-plated (up 101 percent) and steel watches (up 4 percent) rose, helping to buoy exports as a whole.

Price-wise, watches priced between 200 and 500 Swiss francs (about $217 to $541) were most in demand, with exports in the segment rising 21 percent in value terms and 25 percent in volume terms.

Headquartered in Bienne, the FH is a private, nonprofit trade association that represents the interests of watchmakers in Switzerland. 

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