The Swiss National Bank’s change of the value of the Swiss franc is affecting industries throughout Switzerland. The cap on Switzerland’s currency has mirrored the rate pattern of the euro for the past three years, but has recently changed. On January 15, the SNB removed the ceiling due to the slow decline of the value of the euro. Luckily, that was the smart decision, because the Swiss franc’s value then increased by 30 percent. While this is great for the economy, Switzerland is concerned with what will happen to consumerism and the nation’s exports.
This currency change has boosted the real estate and tourism industries, but has hurt the watchmaking industry. This is one of the most popular industries in Switzerland. Since the Swiss franc has risen in value, exports have increased in price, making the ever so popular luxury goods even pricier than before. This makes the behavior of consumers difficult to forecast, with watchmakers wondering at what value will they stop purchasing timepieces. Most faithful watch buyers care more about the complications, quality, and brands over the value of the product. These consumers look at higher price points as a guarantee that their watches are ‘Swiss Made.’
Conveniently enough, the 25th annual SIHH luxury trade watch fair took place soon after the value of the Swiss franc increased. This exclusive event allowed for brands to present their quality craftsmanship and high-end designs. Watch collectors, VIP friends of presenting brands, and the press were intrigued and blown away by the luxurious timepieces. The SIHH luxury trade fair allows for people to experience the best when it comes to watchmaking, which hopefully embraces the product itself rather than the cost.
Now more than ever, social media is key in the watchmaking industry. These platforms are being used to interact with the global following, strengthen consumerism, and ensure that them that industry will be fine. The organizer of SIHH the 25th annual Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie used its Facebook account to address the topic of the currency change: “The 25th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie has ended on a positive note. Despite turbulence linked to the external value of the Swiss franc, and tension in certain markets, the exhibiting maisons were highly satisfied with this quarter-century edition. Visitors were once again able to appreciate the full measure of their skills, both mechanical and artistic.” Despite the scare of a drastic change in consumerism, things are looking up for the Swiss watchmaking industry and watch fanatics around the globe.
-by Deirdre McAndrew