The International Watch show in Geneva has just started and from what we heard it is going to be a good year for Swiss Watchmaking. There are definitely challenges, like the Swiss Franc exchange rate that is skyrocketing the costs. But Brands have been doing an amazing job by focusing on their strength and new emerging markets will contribute to the industry growth.
SIHH, a place for the best and the unique
The first impressions we get in the corridors is that 2015 will be a challenging year but a good year for Swiss Watch-making. Naturally we will need to wait Baselworld in March to get a full scope but the 16 brands presented this week in Geneva are already making their annual business. By the end of the week we will have a more solid prediction but we can say that our Swiss Brands are stars in the sky of watchmaking.
Cartier, Montblanc and Audemars Piguet started this year’s SIHH in a very good rythmn following by the other Richemont brands and guest brands. There are amazing projects that only Swiss audacity could make them real. Cartier Astrotourbillon skeleton or the Audemars Piguet Royal-Oak Acoustic concept are UFOs in watchmaking. Will we see the first true mechanical smart watch by Montblanc? Some brands like Piaget and A. Lange & Söhne become the masters of ultra-thin technology. Ralph Lauren and Van Cleef & Arpels will make you dream as never before. Richard Mille, Baume & Mercier and Vacheron Constantin will bring the best of their know-how. Panerai and Parmigiani will show you how beautiful their heritage is. Final but not least, IWC and Jaeger-Lecoultre will invite you to a journey of wonders. If you wish to see more about the new models presented this year, please check our full review here:
2015 SIHH Watch highlights
So yes, the 2015 SIHH is going to be a nice edition for a great 25th anniversary. And when you see the strong health of the Swiss watchmaking industry, these confirm the fact that only differentiation and true innovation can protect you from economic crisis. Here below some key figures.
Swiss Watch Industry, the key figures
Every year, Switzerland exports around 30 million watches in the world. It sounds huge as a result but if we consider the entire Finished-watch production, it is just 2.5% of the 1.2 Billion watches produced every year (all price ranges together). China and Hong Kong lead the market from a volume point of view. These two countries alone produce every year 1 Billion watches. When you have a look in the up market, Switzerland has the number one place. 95% of all watches sold above the mark of US$1’000 were produced in Switzerland.
In value, Switzerland sells for more than US$ 20 billion every year. The Swiss industry recorded a double digit growth every year on the past 3 years. While Europe is historically a strong commercial partner for Switzerland with more or less 30% of total sales, Asia Pacific represents 54% of all sales. Hong Kong is the showcase for Swiss Watch making and serves all Asia.
In terms of Metal, Gold and Stainless steel are equals in terms of sales in value. Out of the US$ 20 billion , US$ 7.3 billion related to Gold watches and US$ 7.6 billion was the total amount of sales for Stainless steel watches. Of course in volume, it is a different story as Steel represent 53% of total sales whereas Gold watches will only represent 2.5% in volume.
Thanks to this good health, the Swiss Industry has being employing more and more people. Today there are 56’000 people working in watchmaking in Switzerland. Of course it is not comparable to the historical 90’000 individuals by the end of the 70’s but todays figure is the highest in the past 30 years.
In terms of big players, Richemont, Rolex and the Swatch group represent more than 45% of the business. Follows Fossil group USA and LVMH. The Asian brands – Citizen, Seiko and Casio – only represent 9.4% of the market.
As you can see it is an exciting moment to be in Geneva right now. 2015 will have its amount of challenges but the Swiss watchmaking has been growing an amazing relationship with selected partners all around the world that will support them no matter what. With last year China’s low results and now the Swiss franc exchange rate, watchmakers had big doubts about this new year’s growth. Nevertheless, everything is taken in consideration, so that everybody will do his part. During this week, amazing Watchmakers will literally blow our minds by presenting the best they can offer. From technical outstanding breakthroughs to poetry in a watch, the 2015 SIHH will definitely be an edition to remember.
Info sourced at Federation de l’industrie Horlogere Suisse, La tribune de Geneve, interbrand 2013-2014, wikipedia, LeTemps, Watchonista and SIHH official communication. Impressions gathered as declarations in the SIHH. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.