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The Apple Watch is already starting to put a dent in Swiss watch exports

Apple Watch Faces
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It looks like Jony Ive was right: The Apple Watch is, indeed, trouble for the Swiss watch industry. According to the latest numbers from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FSWI) and a comment from an analyst, it seems Apple’s smartwatch is already making a dent in Swiss watch exports.

Shipments of Swiss watches in May declined 8.9 percent to 1.7 billion francs, or about $1.9 billion, according to FSWI. “Mathematically, this downturn corresponds precisely to two days’ less work,” the report notes.

This is the largest dip since November 2009 and means that Swiss watch exports in the first five months of 2015 are down 0.3 percent. FSWI notes that this decline is particularly driven by a 34 percent fall in exports to Hong Kong.

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“Watch exports to the U.S. in the lower price segments could also have had some negative impact from the launch of the Apple Watch,” Patrik Schwendimann, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank in Zurich, told Bloomberg.

So far this year, exports to the U.S. market are down 14 percent. Schwendimann says the U.S. market might see low single-digit growth this year, down from 6 percent growth last year.

To add salt to the wound, the Apple Watch is set to go on sale in Switzerland on June 26.

Swiss watchmakers aren’t standing still: Frederique Constant, Mondaine, and Alpina are among some of the brands that are hopping on the smartwatch wave by creating a smartwatch platform with motion-tracking software company Fullpower.

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Jason Hahn
Jason Hahn is a part-time freelance writer based in New Jersey. He earned his master's degree in journalism at Northwestern…
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