Swiss Watch
Exports of watches priced between 200 francs and 500 francs plunged 30 per cent as consumers continued to shun value-priced Swiss timepieces. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Zurich: Swiss watch exports jumped to a record high in November as Americans snapping up pricey timepieces outweighed slumping demand from China.

Shipments rose 10.9 per cent to a monthly record of 2.4 billion francs ($2.6 billion) last month, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Thursday. Exports totaled 22.9 billion francs from January to November, an 11.9 per cent rise and on track for the industry’s best year ever.

Retailers in Qatar stocked up on expensive watches ahead of the World Cup, the data show, with exports soaring 112 per cent to 36 million francs compared to the same month last year.

Demand for luxury watches has risen to unprecedented value levels after more cash-flush consumers, particularly Americans, discovered Swiss brands from Rolex and Omega to Patek Philippe while stuck at home during the pandemic.

Exports to the US surged 33 per cent in November compared to the previous year. Chinese imports of Swiss watches fell 11.5 per cent as the country continued to deal with Covid restrictions.

The US overtook China as the top market for Swiss watches last year.

Demand for more expensive watches drove gains with timepieces priced above 3,000 francs rising 15.7 per cent by value. Exports of Swiss watches priced below 200 francs rose 15.6 per cent, likely led by shipments of Swatch Group AG’s wildly popular Omega MoonSwatch collaboration.