As the financial crisis continues to play out in uncertain ways, the Swiss watchmaking industry is bracing for its first significant slowdown in many years. The wealthy bankers who scooped up Swiss watches, like Omega, Rolex, and IWC may not be in a position to sustain the watch business. Already this year, shares in Swatch Group, the world's largest watchmaker, have plunged nearly 40 percent.
But unlike the 1970s and 1980s, experts predict single digit growth for the industry rather than outright retraction. Strong demand in emerging markets, such as India, Russia, and China, are expected to help soften the impact of the worst global financial mess since the Great Depression.