It’s no secret that the watch market has been booming, and now there’s even more proof. In the wake of two multimillion-dollar Geneva watch auctions held by Christie’s and Sotheby’s, respectively, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) has announced that exports of luxury timepieces are continuing on an upward trajectory.
In the month of October, exports totalled an eye-popping CHF 2.1 billion (approximately RM9.5 billion), which is the highest monthly figure in seven years. For context, that’s an increase of 12.5 per cent year-on-year, as well as a 4.8 per cent jump from October 2019.
According to the FHS, the increase was driven mainly by demand for high-end timepieces crafted from precious metals. Exports in this category—that is, watches priced over US$3,200—saw double-digit growth both in value and the number of items exported.
At the other end of the spectrum, exports of watches worth less than US$3,200 fell sharply. As such, the total amount of timepieces leaving the landlocked European country also dropped significantly. Some 1.6 million wristwatches were exported from Switzerland this past October, which is a 17.4 per cent decrease compared with the same month two years ago. While less wrist candy left the country, the uptick in expensive timepieces is what spurred this impressive US$2 billion October.
The figures also showed that the burgeoning US market snapped up the majority of the timepieces. The country claimed 14.5 per cent of Swiss exports for October, which equates to more than US$330 million worth of watches. The Chinese market experienced growth, too, nabbing a 12.6 per cent share of the exports or roughly US$289 million worth of timepieces. The market in Singapore also experienced double-digit growth, while exports to the UK, Germany, Italy, France and France all dropped by a few per cent.
As for what has the industry ticking at such a rate, it is partly due to the fact that the watch community is growing and welcoming a younger generation of collectors. It’s high time, too.
Previously published on Robb Report.