It’s been a tough few years for the world of watches, even with more luxury brands embracing technology. But as fans flock this week to Baselworld, the Swiss watch industry’s annual showcase, leaders are predicting an uplift in sales.
Last year, sales of Swiss watches fell nearly 10% to about $19.7 billion, François Thiébaud, told attendees, in a prepared statement, that this has been driven by “uncertainty on political, security- related and financial levels, a downturn in tourism in Europe, and a persistently strong franc.”
But sales in China have been strengthening in the last six months. Luxury powerhouse LVMH, says sales in its watches and jewellery division grew by 5%, with TAG Heuer gaining share, in part because of its connected watch. And Richemont, the Swiss parent of brands like Cartier and Piaget, also reported a 5% gain in sales. Swatch’s CEO recently told Bloomberg he predicts sales increases of between 7% and 10% in the year ahead.