According to the latest figures reported by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), February 2017 showed a continued decline in exports, year over year. The FH report states, “Watch industry exports declined further in the month of February. At 1.5 billion Francs, their value was 10% lower than in February 2016, still in line with the downturn reported for the whole of last year.” In addition, analysis of 2016 overall showed significant forces continuing to weigh on Swiss watch exports.
Not all markets posted declines for February – China, for example, saw a modest uptick of 6.7%, year over year. However, the two other largest markets – the USA and Hong Kong – continued to fall. Hong Kong’s decline appears to be slowing, but the USA has seen a dramatic year over year drop of 26.2%. Yes, you read that right: twenty six point two percent… More at Hodinkee.
I don’t think this is because of smart watches, although that could happen one day. Perhaps we have the first generation that didn’t wear watches when young and as they grow up, they see little need to buy an expensive, or even moderately priced, timepiece. This could be irreversible.