We have interviewed with Jean-Daniel Pasche, President of FH, about the Federation of Swiss Watch Industry and the situation of Swiss watch market in 2022.
Could you tell us about the main roles of Federation of Swiss Watch Industry?
Established following the merger in 1982 between the Swiss Federation of Watch Manufacturers’ Associations and the Swiss Chamber of Watchmaking, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH today represents the culmination of nearly 150 years of associative activity within the Swiss watch industry. As a leading association, the FH currently represents around 500 members, or more than 90% of Swiss firms active in the production and sale of watches, clocks and components. Our objectives are, amongst others, to protect and develop the Swiss watch industry, to uphold our members’ interests generally and in a legal context, and to represent the sector as a whole, both in Switzerland and abroad. Our role also is to harmonize our members’ interests and coordinate policy-making within the industry. In our dealings with the outside world, we take all possible steps to promote framework conditions favorable to the unhindered development of business. Finally, our members benefit from a wide range of services, particularly in the legal, economic and commercial fields. The fight against counterfeiting remains a top priority.
What are your thoughts about the modern history of the luxury Swiss watch industry?
The -Swiss watch industry has been very successful for the past decades as the leading watch industry all over the world. It is the result of 400 years of commitments devoted to passion, precision and quality. It is a fact that our industry is very strong in the high end and luxury segments. But it is important for us that our industry continues to be present in all price segments in order to offer quality products to all kinds of consumers. The Swiss watch industry has the means to maintain its leading position with the following assets: brands, network of suppliers, innovation, reputation, education, quality, precision.
Can you tell us about the “Swiss Made” project?
Throughout the world the reputation of Swiss made watches is unrivalled. Know-how, impeccable quality, aesthetic prowess, technical innovation: the indication Swiss made reflects all this, and much more. Two words which, combined with renowned brands, guarantee the best choice for the consumer in search of a high value timepiece. But two words that also need resolutely protecting. Firstly because the Swiss made label is the only true reference in the world of watchmaking, but also because customer satisfaction is at stake.
The Swiss made label relies not only on considerable intrinsic value, but also on criteria defined by law. The conditions stipulating whether or not a watch or a clock can display this famous label are determined by a Federal ordinance (decree of the government).
A watch is considered to be a Swiss watch if:
a. its technical development is carried out in Switzerland:
b. its movement is Swiss;
c. its movement is cased up in Switzerland;
d. the final inspection of the watch is conducted by the manufacturer in Switzerland; and
e. at least 60 per cent of the manufacturing costs are incurred in Switzerland.
The protection of the label Swiss made and the struggle against misuses of it are also important tasks for FH.
How do you evaluate the situation of the watch market in 2022?
We have not yet received the figures for the whole year 2022 but we can already say that this year has been excellent for the Swiss watch industry. We expect a growth of about 10% versus 2021, which was already a positive exercise. The year 2022 will be a new record year for our industry. Exports of Swiss watches have been positive to USA, Europe and South East of Asia. It was more difficult in China due to the consequences of the pandemic, for instance lock downs.
Today, there are many new dynamics for watch industry, like Gen Z, second-hand watches, sustainability and so on. What are your thoughts about the near future of watchmaking world?
We are confident for the future of our industry. New generations seem to be still interested in Swiss watches either by new products or by second hand watches. The second hand market can be more affordable for young people and give the opportunity for these new consumers to enter in the Swiss watch world.
Also, I would like to ask a question about sustainability particularly. What is your opinion about sustainability in terms of watch world?
The second hand market is the proof that Swiss watches are sustainable products as they can have more than one life. A Swiss watch is never obsolete. Swiss watch companies are very active in the field of decarbonization and protection of the environment.
It seems that 2022 was a fertile year for the industry. Can we hope a better condition for 2023?
We remain confident for 2023 even if it is difficult to predict. But we face a lot of uncertainties around the world: consequences of the war in Ukraine, sourcing of energy and material, inflation, commercial conflicts. Nevertheless, the year 2023 should also be positive according to our expectations.
Do have opinions about Turkish watch market or the place of Turkish customers in the watch industry?
Turkey is the 21st market for the Swiss watch industry behind Mexico and ahead of India. It is also an important and valuable market. The exports for Swiss watches to Turkey have been growing for the last years. For the year 2022, our exports to Turkey will be more than 200 million USD. It demonstrates that the population in your country like Swiss watches and are willing to afford our products despite an economic situation, which is currently not easy.