663 MI L L ION
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.