Friday, June 20, 2014

The Whole World is Watching



Since I began this blog, a number of my posts have focused on luxury, wristwatch limited editions with prices way beyond what the majority of us could ever afford.  Now it’s time to explore the size and reach of the global finished- products watchmaking industry.  

In his Publisher’s Letter for June 2014, Glen B. Bowen, publisher of Watch[Journal] provides an excellent capsule overview of the industry in 2013.  These highlights, many of them drawn from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry(FH),are revelatory. They include:
  • Over a billion watches were produced last year giving one to every 7thperson on earth.
  •  30 million of these were exports that came from Swiss watch companies.
  •   Look to Asia as the global behemoth from the numbers standpoint. It exported 30 times the number coming from Switzerland.
  •  But, when it comes to geographically-centered selling price points, a Swiss watch averages $700 whereby a Chinese watch averages $3.  That’s over a 230% differential that allows the Swiss watch industry to account for more than 50% of the value in the global market. 
  • When it comes to Swiss  export market strength, Asia was the leader buying 53% of the Swiss  exports; followed by Europe with 31%; then America with 14%; and finally Africa and Oceania each with 1%.
If you devour statistics, you can find a more detailed summary of the highlights above at Statistics Brain which also includes the watch market leaders by sales revenue; the largest global watch manufactures; watch sales by type (i.e. mechanical or electric); and the countries which are the largest buyers of watches by purchased value.

The watch industry is fascinating and so when you gaze at your dial, you are participating in an industry whose international community unites us all.