Watch and jewellery makers more hopeful

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Watch and jewellery makers more hopeful

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After suffering an extremely difficult year, watch and jewellery makers have gathered in Switzerland for Baselworld, the industry’s biggest trade show.

They say they are hopeful that the worst is over as sales figures show demand is still fragile but improving.

In January, exports of watches from Switzerland rose after falling for the previous 14 months.

The US, Europe and Japan are still difficult markets, but in parts of Asia, particularly China, people are buying again.

Jean-Daniel Pasche, President of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, said: “2009 was a difficult year for many brands and many suppliers. But at the end of last year we did already see a slight improvement in export figures.”

There are more than 2,000 exhibitors at this year’s show and 100,000 visitors are expected to check out the new trends.

The manufacturers said that one trend is that, throughout the economic crisis, sales of lower and medium priced watches have not suffered as badly as the high end models.

In the long term that could be problem for the watch makers with a shift in demand away from the priciest watches hitting their profit margins.