Watchmakers not Marking Time Despite Current Lull

by swisscham in Business

Despite economic slowdown, the luxury timepieces continue to serve Swiss makers. Pandas are to China what watches are to the Swiss -an integral part of the county. Since the first Swiss watch began ticking in Geneva more than 400 years ago, they have become famous around the world for their exquisite craftsmanship, quality and reliability. Yet who among the artisans of Geneva in the mid-1500s could have imagined how timeless their wares would be, or that one day it would be Asia, and particularly China, that would play a great role in keeping the wheels of their businesses turning? But perhaps Swiss watches and Chinese buyers were always destined to meet, the best of the timepieces dripping elegance and sophistication, the richest of the buyers wanting not only to look good but to show off their immense wealth as well. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry says that in 2002 Swiss watch imports to the Chinese mainland were worth CHF 94.2 million (USD 96.3 million), and that by last year that figure had risen almost 18-fold, to CHF 1.65 billion, making the mainland the third-largest buyer of Swiss watches after Hong Kong and the United States.

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