Swiss watchmakers clocked a record high $24.1 billion in sales for sales in 2013, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. That's 1.9 percent higher than the previous best year in 2012.
The numbers surprised on the upside, especially considering two of the three most important markets, Hong Kong and China, slipped 5.6 percent and 12.5 percent respectively.
However these declines were more than offset by strong demand in the United States (+2.4 percent), Germany (+9 percent), France (+9.6 percent), Japan (+5.7 percent), Italy (+4.6 percent), and the UK (+18.2 percent). The Middle East, notably the UAE (+9.2 percent) and Saudi Arabia (+6.6 percent) continue to emerge as important markets.
In volume terms, Switzerland exported 28.1 million timepieces, which is one million units fewer than 2012. But the value of the watches exported were higher than 2012 due to very strong demand in watches in the mid-price and higher-end ranges, which offset weakness at the lower-end of the spectrum.