Swiss Watch Exports Rose in April, Thanks to the United States



After experiencing the largest decline in four years, Swiss watch exports are once again seeing growth, largely thanks to U.S. dealers.

In April, the industry saw exports rise 4.5 percent globally, helped along by an impressive 11.6 percent increase in the United States alone, WatchPro reported on Friday. The jump follows a whopping 16.7 percent decline in March and a more modest 2.1 percent decrease in February.

Still, the boost in supply doesn’t mean that the Swiss watch industry is seeing unmitigated growth, even in the U.S.. Back in March, sales plummeted 16.9 percent, according to Luxury Watch Barometer data cited by WatchPro. And the value of inventory in American stores jumped 8 percent that same month, showing that supply is outpacing demand—something we haven’t seen in a while. Overall, Swiss watch exports were down 2.6 percent in the first four months of the year compared with the same time period in 2023, but even that recent decline shows a steadying trend.


While China and Hong Kong have in recent years been two of the largest markets for Swiss watches, the U.S. now takes the crown. Exports to America since January are worth $1.5 billion, WatchPro noted. In comparison, in that same time frame China has imported $812 million in Swiss watches, while Hong Kong has brought in $738 million. This recent shift comes as something as a surprise, given where China’s luxury markets were headed a year ago.

Rolex New York City Meatpacking District Boutique

Rolex New York City Meatpacking District Boutique

Scott Gabriel Morris

And although China experienced a drop in exports last month, 15 of the top 20 markets saw their numbers rise. Notable among those is Japan, where exports jumped a healthy 13.6 percent. The market there has been doing quite well as of late, WatchPro said, because a weakened yen means that luxury goods are more affordable for tourists looking to shop during their travels.

On the whole, the Swiss watch industry has been experiencing a volatile couple of years. Back in June 2023, exports to the U.S. declined for the first time in two years. And in December, global exports declined for the first time in at least a year. Yet 2023 saw Swiss watch exports hit a record-high $31 billion.

Will increasing supply of Swiss watches impact our ability to obtain the latest Rolex models? It’s possible that waiting times could grow shorter for certain models.


Since December, the industry has been back and forth, with exports rising in January before dipping once again, finally increasing a slightly healthier amount in April. But with demand for luxury watches falling, some may worry that watchmakers aren’t halting production as much as they could—or should—be, WatchPro explained.

At a time of economic volatility, it seems like some people are realizing that they don’t need another Rolex right now. Or perhaps it’s just that those who turned to watches during the pandemic are again able to spend their money on other luxury experiences, like travel and dining.


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