Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Swiss Watch Exports Fall in November on Steep Hong Kong Decline

  • Value of timepiece shipments fails to exceed 2 billion francs
  • Industry faces first annual drop in exports since 2009

Swiss watch exports dropped in November, led by a 28 percent decline in shipments to Hong Kong, the industry’s largest market.

Shipments slid 5.6 percent to 1.95 billion Swiss francs ($1.96 billion), according to figures released Tuesday by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. That compares with a 14 percent drop in the year-earlier period and it’s the first time the value of November shipments fell below 2 billion francs in four years, the group said. Exports to the U.S. fell 5.3 percent.

“November was disappointing,” said Patrik Schwendimann, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank. “The low point of the growth and margin development of the watch industry may not have been reached yet. The weak November exports point in that direction.”

The Swiss watch industry is facing the first annual decline in the value of exports since 2009, having dropped 3.3 percent in the first 11 months of this year. Growth has ebbed due to the slowdown in China’s economy and the aftermath of the 2012 crackdown on extravagant spending among government officials that’s hurt demand in Hong Kong. Timepiece shipments will increase 2 percent next year, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

“There were no positive developments in any of the main price ranges,” the trade group said in the statement. “Exports to Hong Kong suffered once again from major readjustments on the local market.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.