663 MI L L ION


Plaza Watch International - - News -

This year we were sub­jected to a lot of guff and non­sense about the smart­phone and the smart­watch tolling the bell of im­pend­ing ob­scu­rity for the lux­ury time­piece. Any­one with even the faintest ap­pre­ci­a­tion of fine watches and the size and strength of the global watch in­dus­try will have paid lit­tle heed to the sen­sa­tion­al­ist news pieces that popped up. The sim­ple fact is that there will al­ways be a healthy mar­ket for peo­ple who ad­mire, re­spect and col­lect wrist­watches. A time­piece is far more than an ob­ject with a func­tion... a watch speaks vol­umes about its owner.

The lux­ury and de­signer watch mar­ket cer­tainly has its ups and downs though. The pre­vi­ously bullish Chi­nese mar­ket nor­malised this year, and emerg­ing mar­kets took the ba­ton. BRIC (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­done­sia and China) coun­tries showed the high­est year-onyear in­creases, with China still post­ing a healthy in­crease +59.4 per cent, fol­lowed by Rus­sia with +20.4 per cent and In­dia with +12 per cent.

Switzer­land ex­ports ap­prox­i­mately 30 mil­lion fin­ished watches each year – a small amount con­sid­er­ing more than 1.2 bil­lion watches are man­u­fac­tured world­wide an­nu­ally. The global mar­ket share, in terms of vol­ume of watches pro­duced, is just over 2 per cent for Switzer­land, but in terms of value, Swiss watches have over 54 per cent of global mar­ket share.

In terms of pro­duc­tion num­bers, China is still way out in front, man­u­fac­tur­ing a stag­ger­ing 663 mil­lion watches in 2012, with an av­er­age unit cost of $3, mak­ing it the world’s largest ex­porter of fin­ished watches, closely fol­lowed by Hong Kong, which pro­duced 354 mil­lion. Yet Switzer­land has the man­tle of pro­duc­ing 95 per cent of all watches which are sold at prices of over €600. The Swiss watch in­dus­try sim­ply sells fewer watches for much more money.

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