Swiss watch exports decline most since 2009

“Swiss watch exports slid the most in more than five years in July amid plunging shipments to Asia as Chinese tourists stayed away from Hong Kong and avoided South Korea following the outbreak of a deadly virus,” Corinne Gretler reports for Bloomberg. “The decline in watch shipments to South Korea came after the country faced an outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which Weber said kept Chinese tourists away. The country said the virus was no longer a concern on July 28.”

“Exports fell 9.3 percent to 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($2 billion), the steepest monthly decline since November 2009, according to figures released Thursday by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry,” Gretler reports. “Swatch Group AG shares fell 0.4 percent to 380.70 francs at 12:38 p.m. in Zurich. Investors have increased bearish bets on the biggest maker of Swiss watches to a record, with short interest reaching 18 percent of shares outstanding, more than any other company in the Swiss Market Index… All price segments saw a decline in units and value, with watches costing 200 francs to 500 francs having the steepest drop of 15 percent.”

“The debut of the Apple Watch is an additional cause of worry for the Swiss watch industry, as it may lead retailers to reduce orders of timepieces on concern of rising competition,” Gretler reports. “Shoppers may also forgo a Swiss watch in favor of an Apple Watch as they are in similar price segments.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Blame it on the flu.

The Apple Watch flu.

Imagine the decimation if Apple actually had Apple Watches ready to sell when they launched back in April!

We do not foresee anyone wanting to take off their Apple Watch in order to wear a “jewelry watch.” Apple Watch is not just a watch to be replaced with another regular watch. Maybe wearing two watches in come into vogue for special occasions?MacDailyNews Take, April 16, 2015

Here’s what makers of Swiss or any other watches should do: Push the idea of wearing of two watches, one on each wrist or two on one wrist, into vogue. Because once people start using Apple Watch, they aren’t going to want to leave it at home. Ever. They won’t want to go to dinner parties without their Apple Watch. And that’s bad, bad news for watchmakers not named Apple. Watch and see.MacDailyNews Take, April 16, 2015

I own two $6,000 Swiss watches, but I wear my Apple Watch most of the time – August 14, 2015
Swiss watch exports hit worst slump in five years as Apple Watch debuts – June 19, 2015
As Swiss watchmakers dismiss Apple Watch, Swiss National Bank increases Apple holdings by 60% – May 10, 2015
Apple Watch Edition is poised to disrupt the classic Swiss watch – April 16, 2015
Jean-Claude Biver changes his tune, calls Apple Watch ‘a fantastic product, an incredible achievement’ – January 20, 2015
TAG Heuer plans smartwatch as honcho Jean-Claude Biver changes mind as Apple Watch looms – December 16, 2014
Apple Watch starts countdown on face off with Swiss industry – October 31, 2014
The fashion elite crowd around Apple Watch at Colette in Paris – September 30, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: ‘The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches’ – September 15, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: Apple Watch ‘too feminine; looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester’ – September 16, 2014
Barclays: Apple Watch could crush companies like Fossil – September 16, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: ‘The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches’ – September 15, 2014
Old school watch makers don’t get Apple Watch – September 12, 2014
Apple Watch, the world’s first real smartwatch, will be a massive hit – September 9, 2014
Apple iWatch designer Jony Ive: Switzerland is in deep shit – September 4, 2014


  1. It’s amusing how analysts always try to concoct fanciful excuses to explain away what is obviously an industry being hit by Apple’s success.

    When PC sales were starting to decline, we were told that the earthquakes in Japan had disrupted supply of hard drives and that computers couldn’t be made without them. They overlooked the fact that Apple Macs also needed hard drives and were selling in increasing numbers. Now that the PC industry is in full scale decline, while Macs continue to increase their sales, they were not able to cling onto that particular fig leaf any more.

    1. Correlation is not necessarily causation. Think differently for a moment. From the world of a watch lover, the Apple Watch is not an instead of device. It is an “in addition to” gadget.

      I didn’t buy a new Swiss chronometer but nor did I buy an Apple Watch. It is quite possible that the reason Apple Watches didn’t sell as well as hoped is the same reason that is impacting conventional time pieces. People just don’t see a need for either right now and both are a splurge in ongoing uncertain economic times.

      I’m sure a fraction of the Swiss Timepiece business went to the Apple Watch, but they are still two different markets and they compete not so much with each other as they do with the Smartphone, and the fact that people don’t generally wear watches anymore.

      The Apple Watch doesn’t even register in the luxury watch market. It’s like comparing a driverless car to a Ferarri. If driverless cars hit the market tomorrow and Ferarri subsequently announced a drop in sales, it ain’t because of driverless cars.

    2. Christmas might be interesting. I could see lots of people buying Apple Watches as gifts. Far more than might buy luxury watches as gifts. Luxury watches are very expensive and require study. you don’t want to spend that kind of money on a gift if you don’t know what you’re doing but you can buy the 399 Apple Watch for the gadget lovers in the Family confident that you’re good cause no matter what the price they’re all the same (which is genius in and of itself.)

      Still the man ( It’s a man’s fetish ) who buys Breitling or Omega or Rolex or Ebel, is not going to forego that experience for an Apple Watch. So Christmas buyers better make sure. heh.

  2. yeah, I wouldn’t get too giddy for Apple Watch just yet. The Swiss Franc has been at astronomically strong levels against all other currencies. That is a much bigger factor in the steep decline of exports than Watch. I like Watch and might get Watch 2.0, but its not the cause for that effect. Yet.

      1. ‘fraid not. shows a massive increase earlier this year. Coupled with the near collapse of East Asia, its no surprise exports have fallen. My point is that this can’t be blamed largely on Watch. Some effect? Sure. But macroeconomics is driving this, not Watch.

  3. “Shoppers may also forgo a Swiss watch in favor of an Apple Watch as they are in similar price segments” should read “Shoppers may also forgo a Swiss watch in favor of an Apple Watch as they occupy identical body real estate”

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