Swiss watch exports rose for the first time in 21 months in March. This ended their longest slump on record. Shipments to Hong Kong pulled out of a two-year decline.
Exports gained 7.5 percent to 1.6 billion francs ($1.6 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said last week.
Higher demand for Rolex, Omega and Cartier watches provides a boost for Switzerland. About a tenth of Swiss exports are timepieces. Improving trends in Asia and a rebound in tourism from China to Europe has spurred optimism that the worst may be over after the biggest annual decline in exports for seven years.
Shipments to Hong Kong increased by 18 percent in March, ending 25 months of steep declines. China increased by 38 percent, the biggest advance in two years, continuing its recovery with a sixth consecutive monthly gain. Exports to the U.S. rose 16 percent.