Precision, quality, luxury, design, perfect workmanship, tradition, coupled with high tech: the luxury watch industry combines traditional Swiss values in a traditional Swiss product, and as a highly export-driven sector, it conveys these values to the wider world. The global watch market is dominated by only a handful of countries, the clear leaders being Switzerland and China. China is the world's biggest watch producer in terms of volume. However, Chinese watches are mainly geared towards the lower end of the price range. In the luxury segment, on the other hand, Switzerland enjoys a position of near-monopoly.
Not only is the watch industry a valuable ambassador for Switzerland’s industrial prowess, it also constitutes a major pillar of the country’s economy – the watch industry has proven hugely significant to a number of the country's regions. The profile of the Swiss watch industry is that of a fully developed cluster in which the individual players – from supplier, through brand, to retailer – work together like clockwork. Rolex is considered to be the most valuable Swiss watch brand in the world, with a brand value of approximately 7.4 billion Swiss Francs (CHF) in 2016.
The luxury watch industry has staged an impressive rebound from the watch crisis. Thanks to a decision to refocus on high-end products (in particular mechanical watches), the luxury watch industry benefited from a boom in demand for global luxury goods that began in the mid-1990s. In particular, the luxury watch industry owes its success to its foresight in actively targeting growth in emerging markets. Thanks to rising incomes and growing prosperity, other emerging-market countries besides China will offer substantial growth opportunities for the watch industry.
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