Australia contributes to Swiss record year
By Coleby Nicholson
At the opening of BaselWorld, the Swiss watch industry announced that 2011 was a record year with turnover increasing to CHF19.3 billion and exports to Australia increasing by over 18 percent.
After eight days of busy activity, BaselWorld closes on Thursday celebrating a record year. Jacques Duchêne, President of the Exhibitors’ Committee, announced 2011 was a record year with 30 million watches being exported.
“2011 was a historic year for the Swiss watch industry, which is not simply something to be put down to chance. It is true that demand was very buoyant in Asia, but the watch industry has built up a good reputation in all the emerging countries and succeeded in creating demand, especially in the luxury-products segment,” Duchêne said.
Turnover increased by over 19 percent and exports rose to 19.3 billion Swiss francs (AUD19.8 billion)
Duchene added, “It is worth stressing that these are export figures, not sales figures.”
The Swiss exported more than 30 million pieces and exports to Australia grew by more than 18 percent, which means that the Oceania region now represents 1 per cent of the Swiss watch market.
Understandably, the greatest growth was in Asia, up 26 per cent, with the US increasing by 14 per cent.
According to statistics presented by François Thiébaud, President of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, at a packed media conference the day before the fair opened, Asia and the Middle East now account for 55 per cent of all Swiss watch exports, while Europe accounts for 29 per cent.
Duchêne urged the industry to remain adaptive in the future. “In an ever more globalised economy, we must be champions of change whilst retaining our particularities,” he added.
Jacques Duchêne, President of the Exhibitors’ Committee
BaselWorld, which is billed as the world's largest and most important fair for the watch and jewellery industry, opened its doors on Thursday, March 8, with 1,815 exhibitors and more than 100,000 visitors expected by the time it closes on this Thursday.
More than 1,000 exhibitors were from Europe with nearly 500 from Asia, while 3,000 media representatives normally cover Basel and this year was no different with the press room now bursting at the seems. The consensus among the media was that it was business as usual with very little in the way of obvious new trends.
While BaselWorld does not see anywhere near the number of Australian and Kiwi retailers, it is a ‘must-attend’ for the local watch suppliers who gather to view their new ranges for the first time.
There was no doubt that many brands had introduced more striking colour ranges, perhaps following in the footsteps of the success of Ice Watch. But given the continuing economic crisis besetting much of Europe it’s no wonder that it was ‘steady as you go’ as innovation took a back step to the bottom line.
Having said that Seiko and Bulova launched some technical innovations, while Guess, Ice Watch, Tendence, Roamer and Victorinox released some exciting new models and styles.
In addition, Rotary is taking another dip at the Australian and New Zealand market via local distributor Instyle while retailers should keep an eye on new brand Offshore and new styles from Glam Rock.
René Kamm, CEO of MCH Group
BaselWorld is not only about the latest watches, there’s lots of jewellery on display to. Click here to see over 200 pictures.
New buildings on schedule for 2013
The construction work on the new hall complex, which will open next year, is progressing on schedule. The central section of the new building is already standing.
The total floor space this year was more than 160,000 square metres and it’s the last event in the existing buildings.
While the work had stopped for the fair, René Kamm, CEO MCH Group said, “From April, so straight after BaselWorld 2012, the hectic second construction phase will start with the demolition of the old main entrance and Hall 3, and the completion of the three-storey complex.”
Kamm explained that the new complex will have one large hall of around 420 metres on the first floor. “With the new building, we will be able to offer a total gross exhibition area of 141,000 square metres here in Basel,” Kamm said.
* A full report of BaselWorld 2012 will appear in May Jeweller.
Posted March 13, 2012