Swiss watch exports post biggest quarterly export drop since 2009

“Swiss watch exports posted the biggest quarterly export drop since 2009 in the third quarter as plummeting sales in Hong Kong and China spread to other Asian markets in September,” Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi reports for Reuters. “Watch exports were down a real 8.5 percent for the third quarter after falling 9.9 percent in September and 10 percent in July, the Federal Customs Office said on Tuesday.”

“At 1.814 billion Swiss francs ($1.91 billion), September watch sales abroad significantly undershot analysts’ expectations, posting declines that were double to triple what analysts had forecast,” Neghaiwi reports. “Timepieces in all price segments were impacted, but watches in the low to mid-segment took the biggest hit. The 200-500 franc export category slipped 14.5 percent, igniting concerns that the Apple Watch could finally be taking a bite out of the Swiss industry’s stake.”

“On Friday, Bank Vontobel released a sector report highlighting Swatch Group’s particular smartwatch exposure, with its mid-range brand Tissot and lower range own label, Swatch,” Neghaiwi reports. “But Vontobel analysts remained optimistic that, due to the group’s technology know-how, it would offer its own smartwach offerings to compete with the Apple Watch and its likes.”

MacDailyNews Take: Beyond Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Edition, and Apple Watch Hermès, Apple Watch has no likes.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bank Vontobel’s optimism is misplaced.

LVMH’s Jean-Claude Biver sees tougher 2016 for Swiss watch industry – September 29, 2015
Swiss watch exports decline most since 2009 – August 20, 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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]


    1. Maybe  has been right about not divulging the Watch numbers. I thought it was silly not to do so or that the numbers were bad and  did not want to divulge them.

      It may be that  wanted that cloud of doubt regarding the success of the Watch so that the rest of the industry would not feel threatened and therefore not scramble into action. In essence be blindsided!

  1. Suddenly out of the blue my teen kids couldn’t live without Apple Watches. I said we’d think about it for Christmas and they couldn’t wait. Bought them last week with their own money.

    A small, white band, pink aluminum, and a large black band black aluminum.

    I’m not sure where this came from. I’d heard that only one friend had one. But they’d bought three bands in Amazon and matched them to their outfits daily.

    My young daughter was showing another parent the watch. The parent ironically said, “Oh look, you have instant access to the NASDAQ.” My daughter was like, “Yeah!”

    She has no idea what the Nasdaq is.

    So yeah, I have no idea what they intend to do with these things, or why they HAD to have them. But they’re THRILLED.

    If that’s happening around the country like it is in my home this is going to be huge. (Me, I’m prudently waiting for version 2. Though if my kids start having too much fun with these, who knows.)

    1. Those of us who watch Shark Tank know that the acceptance of what is called a “new category” is not instantaneous. Most consumers don’t see a need for a new category at first.

      This happened with the iPhone when it was introduced as a new category. I remember all that FUD regarding the lack of a keyboard, lack of a changeable battery, the expense, etc. You really had to experience the iPhone to see how revolutionary it was. The Watch will have acceptance experience similar to the iPhone when more and more people see how others use it.

        1. 1. GPS, and all the good info that a Garmin provides, I carry a phone on my runs, but I don’t use it except for emergencies. The times i tried, the connections or the app failed, so I had no data.
          2. Waterproofing for swimming
          3. Being able to see it in the sun
          4. Make one model bigger, like the Garmin Fenix 3 or Epix, the sport model should’ve been manly looking.
          5. Cellular, the Samsung Gear S already had this and the battery lasted all day

        2. I bought the first gen iPad which i never use. I also bought the 2nd gen iPad which I still use today and every day. 2nd gen products are generally better and have better app support by the time they are out.
          I will admit though, that if the 2nd gen Watch receives less than stellar reviews and functionality, I will wait for version 3

        3. Better sensors;
          Sensors that scan more often;
          Better loudspeaker;
          Better battery.

          I’m in the minority, but I find the design a little clunky. Version 2 won’t probably change that. I’m of the opinion that Watch will follow the same tick tock as iPhone. Gen 2 will probably have exactly the same visual look with vastly upgraded internals. Gen 3 will probably have a few millimeters cut off, and perhaps a squarish design a la iPhone 4.

  2. Correlation is not causation. Swiss watch sales could be down for the same reason Apple Watch sales aren’t through the roof. I do not believe that the people who have so far purchased an Apple Watch repurposed their Tag Heuer funds to do so.

    1. Maybe the Tag Heuer people haven’t but some of us Rolex people have.

      Regarding: “Apple Watch sales aren’t through the roof.”
      We don’t know that this statement is true. By the fact that Best Buy, Target and B&H Photo have recently starting carrying the Watch indicates that it may be doing better than we have led ourselves to believe. For instance Best Buy stared with 200 stores and hoped to have other stores carry it by Christmas. Within a few days Best Buy accelerated their plans and will carry it in all stores much sooner.

  3. As jewelry, traditional watches will do fine. Quality earrings and bracelets and watches will always sell. But as a functional wrist worn accessory, as smart watches gain better and better functionality, they are going to take that space.

  4. I would put the dent the Apple Watch has put in Swiss watch sales at under 2%. First: comparing an Apple Watch to a Patek Philippe or a Rolex is like comparing a Kia to a Porsche. But mostly it’ economics: the Swiss Franc has become so expensive compared to other currencies since the Swiss National Bank has stopped buying Euros in February that exports are naturally going down in every category. Add to that the downturn in China that challenges all luxury brands and you have the explanation what is going on. Take it from someone living in Switzerland. Love and use Apple products for the last 25 years, but that Apple Watch is just an (expensive) gadget, sorry.

    1. Regarding: “Comparing an Apple Watch to a Patek Philippe or a Rolex is like comparing a Kia to a Porsche.”

      Background: I have been a long time collector (over 45 years) and current owner of six Rolex watches (just sold one of my stainless Daytona’s). Since owning the Watch for many months I haven’t worn any of the Rolexes except on very rare occasions, maybe three times in total. At first I thought I might wear them in the evening when I have less need for the Watch’s functions but that has really not happened.

      I think the better analogy would be “Comparing an Apple Watch to a Patek Philippe or a Rolex is like comparing a modern automobile to a horse and buggy.”

  5. Many people wrongly assume that Swiss watches are all very expensive, actually the majority fall within Apple Watch price range .

    WSJ Watch Guide:

    It should also be noted that, in 2012, Swiss watches cost on average 739 dollars (688 dollars in 2011),

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.