The hallmarking of platinum watch cases in Switzerland rose by 5% in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to Johnson Matthey’s platinum 2013 review.
The full year report from Johnson Matthey, a leading authority on the production, supply and use of the platinum group metals published today, stated that platinum has retained a strong position in the bridal market in the UK, with the number of British-made hallmarked pieces rising by 1.8%. However, growth was stronger in Switzerland, where the number of platinum pieces hallmarked in 2012 soared by 14% on the previous year, with the hallmarking of platinum watch cases climbing by 5% to just over 9,500 pieces, which Johnson Matthey credited with demonstrating the continued recovery in demand for high-end luxury goods.
Mark Bedford, managing director, precious metals of the Precious Metals and Colours Division at Johnson Matthey said: "We see the increase in hallmarking of platinum watch cases in Switzerland as an indication of a slow but steady recovery in the ultra-luxury segment of the watch market. After reaching a low point in 2010 in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008/9, watch brands are turning once again to platinum as the ultimate case material for complicated movements and range-topping models. Platinum finds a particular resonance in the Far East, where it has long since occupied a premier position in the jewellery markets of Hong Kong and China. We expect 2013 to show a further improvement on the 2012 numbers."
These latest figures echo the sentiment delivered by chairman of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee François Thiébaud at the opening of BaselWorld 2013, in which he highlighted the growth of the watch exports over the past five years, particularly mechanical watches. He said that Swiss watch exports in March 2013 had a total value of CHF1.6 billion (£1.1bn), up 2% on March 2013 and that from January to March 2013, Swiss watch export values were at CHF4.7 billion (£3.23bn), with a total growth of 2.4% compared to the same period in March 2012.
Bedford also said that the signs were positive at BaselWorld 2013 and that although demand for platinum watches has remained relatively flat since 2009 that at BaselWorld there were indications that numbers are starting to creep back upwards.
At the show, Rolex launched its latest version of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, which for the first time has been made entirely in 950 platinum.
The Johnson Matthey report also found that overall, the platinum market was in deficit by 375,000 ounces in 2012 as supply fell to a 12 year low and said that if investment demand remains positive, platinum may be slightly in deficit in 2013.