Swiss luxury watch exports growth slows as shipments to China drop

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Swiss watch exports grew at a slower pace in October as shipments to China declined, suggesting a slight moderation in demand for high-end timepieces.

Shipments rose 6.7 percent to 2.27 billion francs ($2.4 billion) last month, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Thursday. Exports are up 12 percent in the first ten months of the year, on track for a record.

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Demand for luxury watches has risen to record levels after more cash-flush consumers discovered Swiss brands from Rolex and Omega to Patek Philippe while stuck at home during the pandemic.

Markets for all sorts of tradeable collectibles have been buoyant lately.

Growth was led by the US, with exports jumping 17 percent to the nation that overtook China last year to become the biggest market for luxury Swiss time pieces.

Exports to China fell 18 percent as the government’s COVID-19 Zero policy kept some retail stores closed.

Exports of watches with wholesale prices between 200 francs and 500 francs plunged 37 percent in value, continuing a downturn that began in early 2020.

Read more: Rolex hikes watch prices by 5 pct in UK as currency slides

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