Swiss Watch Trade Sees 12th Month of Decline


Swiss watch exports fell 11% year on year to CHF 1.59 billion ($1.78 billion) in January, the 12th consecutive monthly drop, as demand slowed in the US and in key Asian markets.

Shipments to the US declined 11% to CHF 183.3 million ($204.5 million), partly because strong figures in January 2020 created an unfavorable comparison, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Thursday.

Supply to Hong Kong dipped 9% to CHF 169.3 million ($188.9 million) last month as market conditions deteriorated, while exports to the UK and Japan slumped due to the tightening of Covid-19 measures, it added. January also had one fewer business day than the same period a year earlier.

The negative figures outweighed a 58% jump in orders from China, for a total of CHF 255 million ($284.5 million), mirroring a continued recovery of the retail sector on the mainland.

Globally, cheaper watches saw a sharper downturn, with shipments of timepieces priced under CHF 200 ($223) sliding 31% by value. Exports of watches with wholesale prices ranging from CHF 200 to CHF 500 ($558) decreased 26%, while goods valued between CHF 500 and CHF 3,000 ($3,347) suffered a decline of 25%. Shipments of items above that price level slipped 4.1%.

The numbers point to a worsening of the situation versus December, when the global decline was the mildest since the start of the pandemic as Chinese demand rose. The trade hasn’t witnessed a year-on-year increase since January 2020.

“The result for the month will nonetheless have only a limited effect on the upward trend seen since last summer, and a return to significant growth is expected over the next few months,” the federation noted.


21 Carat Colombian Emerald Sells For Nearly $1.2 Million

21.52 carat Colombian emerald

A 21.52 carat untreated Colombian emerald fetched nearly $1.2 million at Phillips Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite July auction. The gem sold within estimates all sales include buyer’s premium. Described by the auction house as “exceptional and very rare,” it was the top lot in an otherwise mixed sale where several important lots were left on the block.

Among the items that didn’t sell was the top lot heading into the auction: a 20.25 carat internally flawless fancy vivid yellow diamond set on a diamond ring. Its estimate was $1.1 million to $1.5 million. It was withdrawn prior to the sale. Another item that was withdrawn was a necklace featuring 11 fine oval jadeite cabochons surrounded by brilliant cut diamonds and linked by marquise and pear shaped diamonds set on 18k white gold. Its estimate was $808,000- $1 million.

In addition, a very fine pair of fine jadeite cabochon earrings set on white gold did make it to the block but failed to find a bidder. Its estimate was $750,000 to $1.1 million.

Harry Winston 12.55-carat diamond ring sold for $1.1 million
Harry Winston 12.55 carat diamond ring sold for $1.1 million PHILLIPS

An important signed jewel that failed to attract a buyer was a one of a kind Peacock bangle by Chopard. The elaborate high jewelry creation is notable for its resplendent tail feathers that wrap around the wearer’s wrist. This design, marked by numerous details, is adorned with 7,500 gems that required hundreds of hours of study and work. Its estimate was $230,000 to $280,000.

Items that did do well in the sale held on July 8 at the JW Marriott Hong Kong were signed Harry Winston jewels and emeralds, such as the top lot.

Harry Winston Colombian emerald and diamond ear clips sold for $370,960
Harry Winston Colombian emerald and diamond ear clips sold for $370,960 PHILLIPS

The number two lot in the sale was a a 12.55 carat rectangular step-cut diamond set on a vintage platinum ring, 1953. The D/IF type IIa diamond sold for $1.1 million, within estimates. In addition, a “very fine” pair of 4.52 and 4.44 carat step-cut Colombian “no oil” emerald and diamond ear clips from the famed New York jeweler sold for $370,960, within estimates. A pair of classic diamond cluster ear clips totaling 21.63 carats sold for $209,673, within estimates.

A 6.38 carat cushion-shaped emerald mounted on a platinum and 18k gold ring surrounded by diamonds by Bulgari fetched $403,218, within estimates.

Karen Suen conch pearl, pink diamond and diamond necklace sold for $217,737
Karen Suen conch pearl, pink diamond and diamond necklace sold for $217,737 PHILLIPS

Three jewels featuring gem quality conch pearls by contemporary Hong Kong jewelry designer, Karen Suen, were part of the sale. One of the three jewels, a conch pearl, pink diamond and diamond necklace fetched $217,737, within estimates. The other pieces, a pair of earrings and a ring made of conch pearls and diamonds failed to sell.

Source: Anthony DeMarco Forbes