Swiss watchmakers target stock at countries emerging fastest from lock down


Mainland China’s hard and targeted lock down has limited economic damage and led to it becoming the biggest export market in the world for Swiss watches in June.

Swiss manufacturers are clearly diverting what little stock they have managed to produce during the pandemic to China because, while the global value of exports fell year-on-year by 35.1% in June, exports to the People’s Republic rose by 47.7%.


Hong Kong, to which so many Chinese citizens used to travel for shopping until this year, was one of the hardest hit markets in the world in June with Swiss watch exports dropping by 54.6%.

Monthly exports worldwide are rapidly returning towards normal levels. In April, at the height of the pandemic, global exports for Swiss watches slumped to just CHF 329 million, compared to 1.8 billion in April 2019. May’s total was double April’s at CHF 654 million and by June the value was up to CHF 1.1 billion.

The willingness of Switzerland’s watchmakers to target stock at markets that are emerging successfully from lock down might bode well for authorised dealers in the UK, which is seeing imports rising towards more normal levels.

From a low point of just CHF 3.6 million worth of imports in April, the monthly total has risen to CHF 69 million by June, although that is still 45% lower than the same month last year.

Germany, which is Europe’s most successful country for tackling the pandemic, saw imports in June down by just 21%.

The United States is seeing the economic damage wrought by its inconsistent approach to suppressing the virus in Swiss watch export figures, which fell year-on-year by 57% in June.

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