Swissinfo reports on the state of watchmaking in Switzerland:
- Watchmaking accounts for around 1.5% of Swiss gross domestic product (GDP). It is the country’s third-largest export industry behind the pharmaceuticals and machine tools sectors.
- Switzerland produces more than 20 million watches per year, or just over 2% of global timepiece manufacturing. However, Switzerland commands more than a 50% share of the global watch industry in value terms.
- Switzerland commands the high- and mid-range segments of the watch industry: more than 95% of watches sold for CHF1,000 (about $1,062) or more are produced by Swiss companies.
- In 2019, Swiss watchmakers exported almost 10 million fewer watches than they did in 2016 and the trend is down. The coronavirus pandemic has hurt sales.
- Apple is a tough competitor. Apple sold more watches in 2019 than the entire Swiss watch industry, although the company only began selling watches five years ago.
- Since the 1960s the Swiss watchmaking industry has enlisted foreign workers to staff its factories. Today, many cross-border workers from France work in watchmaking factories located in western Switzerland’s Jura Arc or “Watch Valley”, the historic cradle of the sector.