A significant decline in Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong in October put a dent in the otherwise positive month, as several of the leading markets recorded strong growth. According to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Swiss watch exports passed the 2 billion francs (CHF2.03 billion/USD$2.04 billion) representing 1.5% growth compared to the same month last year.
After a small rise in January, export growth in the watch industry gained momentum in February, according to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The industry exported goods worth the equivalent of CHF 1.8 billion francs ($1.8 billion), up 3.4% from February 2018. However, a 58 percent surge in shipments to the U.K. in February accounted for 80% of the increase worldwide and is explained by stockpiling ahead of Brexit. In the first two months of the year, the U.K. imported 242 million Swiss francs ($242 million) of timepieces from Switzerland.
The strong growth of watch industry exports reported in January was confirmed - and even bettered in February, reports the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, as exports to Hong Kong and the US saw their strongest monthly advance for six years. The total value of Swiss exports reached $1.78 billion (CHF 1.69 billion), an increase of 12.9% on the February 2017 figure. A total of 1.9 miilion units (+3.8%) were shipped, good for $1.67 billion (CHF 1.59 billion), with an additional $100.7 million (CHF 95.9) earned from other products.
Swiss watch industry exports rose strongly at the beginning of 2018, boosted by substantial sales growth in Asia, reports the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Year on year, total January exports of wristwatches rose by 12.6% to $1.7 billion (1.6 billion Swiss francs), as the trade benefited from the dynamic performance of previous months and a favourable base effect, the Industry body writes.
Driven by strong increases in exports to Hong Kong and China, and even modest 1.4% growth for the U.S., July marked the third straight month of growth for Swiss watch industry exports, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH.
Swiss watch industry exports rose strongly in May, according to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. They were worth $1.77 (1.7 billion francs), 9.0% more than in May 2016. This was the second positive month after March, confirming the recovery which has been under way since the start of the year. Several important markets posted very strong growth. Hong Kong (+18.1%) and China (+34.4%) led the Asian continent while the situation in Japan (-3.2%) continued to deteriorate.
In April 2017, a symposium called, “Synthetic Diamonds: Are Watchmaking and Jewelry in Danger?” was held in Geneva, specifically to address the issue of synthetic diamonds in the domain of watchmaking and how it is possible to differentiate natural from lab-grown stones.
"The organizers of Baselworld, the world’s largest watch and jewelry fair, have recognized that it is in a state of decline," writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. "At a time when the fair has reached the milestone of 100 years, fair organizers announced that they are reducing the 2018 edition by two days and cutting prices for exhibitors, following several years of exhibitor and attendance declines." The organization announced in a press release that visitor figures were down 4% to 106,000 buyers.
Gübelin Gem Lab introduced the “Emerald Paternity Test”, a technology developed for tracing the origin of emeralds to their exact mine. They were able to do this by using nanotechnology to mark stones with an invisible imprint that is accessible at any stage of the supply chain. The technology is a “true game-changer for the colored-gemstone industry,” said the Switzerland-based laboratory.
De Grisogono, a Geneva-based high-end jeweler, has entered a partnership with Jewelers DLK for its American operations in an effort to further develop the brand’s presence in the U.S. The partnership with DLK, owned by David and Lisa Klein, will enable the brand to further develop their precious stones, haute-jewelry collections and move away from being a brand that is reputed solely for having bought some of the world’s largest rough diamonds. De Grisogono USA will be managed by the Kleins, the Geneva-based company said on Friday.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, just shared their trading update for the third quarter ended December 31 2016, reporting an overall 5% uptick at constant exchange rates to $3,292.5 million and a 6% rise at actual exchange rates. In Europe, sales increased by 3% in the third quarter, in contrast with the 17% decline registered in the first six months of the year. The report suggests the increase was primarily due to local sales and tourist purchases in the United Kingdom as well as strong jewelry sales across the region.
On November 14, Richemont announced they would cut 210 jobs, this following the announcement from Chairman Johann Rupert, who abolished the CEO position in the company’s biggest management shakeup since 2009.
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH reports that September 2016 marks the fifteenth straight month of falling exports. The downturn in watch industry exports flattened out in the third quarter, but remained significant in September, at -5.7%, coming in at a total value of $1.72 billion (1.7 billion francs). Exports to the United States - the leading export county for the second time this year with 11.3% of the total market - rose 4.7%, while those to Japan (7.5% of market) increased 8.9%.
With its industry overview announcing that, "Exports of Swiss watches fell in the first half of 2016 to CHF 9.5 billion ($9.8bn) from CHF 10.2 billion ($10.5bn) in 2015. This is the lowest level since 2011. In July and August the decline continued.
Four Israeli diamond dealers have appeared in court in Tel Aviv accused of holding close to 100 million shekels ($21 million) at HSBC Switzerland that was not reported to the Israel Tax Authority authorities. The unnamed diamond dealers allegedly held undeclared accounts at the bank, the tax authority said on Thursday, Reuters reported. A Tel Aviv court later agreed to release them after posting bail. All four have denied the allegations.
Swiss jeweler De Grisogono SA has acquired the rights to market a 404-carat rough diamond which it bought from Dubai trader Nemesis International DMCC. The giant diamond was discovered by Lucapa Diamond Co at its Lulo mine in Angola. Nickolas Polak, a director of Nemesis International, declined to disclose the price for which the stone had been sold, but in February Lucapa said it sold the 404-carat diamond for $22.5 million, Bloomberg reported.
The decline in Swiss watch exports that started in July 2015 gathered pace in March, with exports to Hong Kong, the United States and China hit hard. Overall watch exports plunged 16.1% on the year in March with a value of just 1.5 billion francs ($1.53 billion), making them the lowest March figures since 2011. The biggest declines were seen for watches costing 200-500 francs, with a 27.1% drop in both value and volume terms.
Swiss watch exports were negative for the eighth consecutive month in February, with a value of $1.75 billion (1.7 billion francs) – a decline of 3.3% on the year, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported in a statement. The export figures were significantly influenced by developments in the Hong Kong market. Wristwatches recorded a less pronounced fall in value, down 2.0%, but bimetallic timepieces dragged the figures down, while steel products registered an upturn.
Total exports fell 7.9 % year on year to $1.53 billion last month, with exports to Hong Kong and the U.S., dropping precipitously. Hong Kong saw its twelfth consecutive month of steep declines, falling -33.1%, while the United States dropped for the fifth straight month – down 13.7%. Meanwhile, after two months of growth, China registered a slight downturn of 1.9%. However, there was some good cheer, with exports to Japan soaring by 35.8% and the main European markets doing well, including France which was up 4.7%.
Bloomberg Business reports that Swiss watch exports posted their first annual drop in six years, hurt by slumping demand for less expensive timepieces that are competing for buyers with Apple Inc. and other smartwatch makers. December exports declined 3.8%, pushing shipments down 3.3% on the year to 21.5 billion Swiss francs ($21.2 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Tuesday. That compares with a 1.9% rise the previous year.
Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has decided not to take action against HSBC, Britain's largest bank, whose Swiss arm helped clients to evade tax. HSBC was hit by a scandal last year when leaked bank account details showed how its Swiss unit helped wealthy customers to evade taxes by concealing assets and handing out cash to avoid the authorities. HSBC’s private banking clients, which also featured 2,000 diamond industry names, held more than $100 billion.
Business of Fashion reports that as the Swiss watch industry prepares for fourth straight year of little to no growth, big producers such as Richemont, the owner of Cartier, are trimming back investment in production while some smaller rivals look for a buyer or risk going under. The world’s biggest watch-producing country will register a 2% increase in shipments next year, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. That’s the same rate of 2013 and 2014, a far cry from growth of about 20% in prior years.
In May 2013 police in Switzerland, Belgium and France detained more than 30 people in connection with a spectacular €40 million diamond theft at Brussels airport in February of that year. Diamonds and cash were recovered in Geneva. Last week, a Geneva estate agent who hid jewels from the heist in his cellar was given a two-year suspended sentence by a court in Geneva, which found the 61-year-old man guilty of receiving stolen goods and money laundering. Judges determined he hid the diamonds, valued at almost $7 million, for over two months.
A 16.08-carat cushion-shaped fancy pink diamond was bought for $28,523,925 at Christie’s in Geneva setting a new world auction record for any pink diamond ever offered at auction. The stone was bought by a private Asian buyer, who named it just after the auction 'Sweet Josephine.'
The Swiss-based Gübelin Gem Lab and Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF have agreed to harmonize their standards for the color terms “pigeon blood red” and “royal blue.” Their goal is to standardize the usage of these terms for the benefit of the international gemstone trade. The terms have become increasingly popular in recent years as some labs use them in their marketing of grading reports, but agreement on the precise colors has been difficult to achieve since they are considered to be highly subjective.
September was the third month this year to show a "marked decline" in watch exports after May and July, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry Swiss reported. Exports slumped in United States, with the worst monthly downturn in five years. "This negative change [in sales overall] has spread to other, hitherto more robust Asian markets, and casts something of a shadow over prospects for the year 2015."
Four 'prominent' men from Geneva, including three real estate developers and a lawyer, will stand trial in November on charges of money laundering and embezzlement linked to the spectacular, $50 million diamond heist of an airplane in Brussels in 2013. Many of the stones, which were being transported from Antwerp to Zurich, were recovered in the first two months after the heist, while an undisclosed portion was sold on.
The surging Swiss franc and weakness in a number of key markets - particularly Asia, where demand has faltered in China and Japan, and collapsed in Hong Kong - is taking its toll on Swiss watchmakers. Other markets have also proved difficult: a stumbling rouble has hit Russian demand, and sales in the UAE, an increasingly important market, have declined.