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Swiss Watch Exports to the U.S. Rose by Nearly 10 Percent in May

The American love affair with the Swiss watch appears to be far from over.

Exports of the country’s timepieces to the U.S. jumped considerably in May, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry announced Tuesday. The increase comes just one month after data suggested that demand might be starting to wane stateside.

In April, Swiss watch exports to the U.S. fell by 4.9 percent. That may not seem like much, but there was concern it could be the sign of something bigger after more than two straight years of rising shipments, according to Bloomberg. Fortunately, the dip looks to have been temporary.

The Swiss trade group’s latest data shows exports to the U.S. rose by 9.8 percent to nearly 359.4 million francs ($400 million) in May. For now, at least, it looks as if the industry doesn’t have to worry about being impacted by the “richcession”—a phenomenon in which wealthy Americans curb spending because of the current economic climate—just yet.

“This suggests that high-end American consumers, still seemingly in the YOLO [You Only Live Once] mindset, have resumed traveling and spending as summer approaches,” wrote Luca Solca, an analyst at Bernstein, according to Bloomberg.

Across the world, Swiss watch exports grew by 14.4 percent to 2.3 billion francs ($2.6 billion) in May. Since the start of the year, global shipments have risen by 11 percent to 10.9 billion francs ($12.1 billion). The steady increase, which continues a trend that started early in the pandemic, shows consumer demand for watches made by brands such as Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe remains strong despite fears that interest might be about to dip.

The U.S. still represents the biggest market for Swiss watchmakers, but exports to other regions also increased in May. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry’s numbers also show exports to China rose by a staggering 158.3 percent to 237.4 million francs ($264 million dollars) and to Hong Kong by 19.2 percent to 227 million francs ($252.4 million). Retailers in both regions are scrambling to restock pricey timepieces following years of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns.

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