Industry News: Is The Swiss Watch Industry Doomed?

Twenty-Twenty, the Annus horribilis we all hope to forget as soon as possible. This hope is also shared by the Swiss watchmakers out there. As we have seen from the last industry export figures, the Swiss have experienced what is one of the very worst years for their watch industry.

Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry

The question is then, what now? Well, good for you someone at SwissInfo has already done some thinking on the subject and laid it out nicely in a detailed write-up. An interesting read for anyone with even a casual interest in the watch industry.

In a nutshell, they go into the following five ‘action’ points:

  • Return to growth while limiting layoffs
  • Do not put all your eggs in one (Chinese) basket
  • Win back Western consumers and the younger generation
  • Keep the manufacturing base in Switzerland
  • Pursue the digital transformation

For the full article, I invite you to check it out right here.

  1. That 2020 graph shows a -22%. Is that because of lack of demand or lack of production? By excluding Rolex it would even have been a -29% but since they too had to temporary stop production like most other Swiss manufacturers they also took a “beating”.

    1. I would be more inclined to say this was because of lack of demand – it literally drops off a cliff as soon as covid lockdowns hit (mar-apr). And let’s not pretend the Swiss don’t have ample stock to get rid of in those initial months. So I would conclude, without much doubt: Dramatic reduced demand.

      Rolex has a considerable (positive) impact on the numbers. Ages ago I believe the statistics were available on a brand level (my memory might not be entirely accurate anymore), but stopped a long time ago now for mysterious reasons. I assume to make certain brands standing out (both positive and negative) less obvious for the public. Morgan Stanley at times still releases some statistics based on mysterious insights that give a bit more insight in the brand specific numbers.

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