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Mar 29, 2009
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Rolex chief foresees tough times for Swiss watch makers

By
AFP
Published
Mar 29, 2009

GENEVA, March 29, 2009 (AFP) - Switzerland's watch exports, a market is leads worldwide, could drop by as much as one-third this year, Rolex chief said Bruno Meier in a German newspaper interview published Sunday March 29.


Rolex Datejust II (Source: www.rolex.com)

"I can imagine Swiss exports in 2009 dropping by up to one third of their value," the luxury watch maker's new chief told the NZZ newspaper amid the Baselworld jewellery and luxury watch fair in Basel.

Swiss watch exports were up 6.7 percent at 17 billion Swiss francs (11.2 billion euros) in 2008, but they have been dropping in recent months.

They sank by 22.4 percent in February, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry Federation.

But Meier said Rolex would be less affected than its competitors.

"We might reach a level equivalent to that of 2005," he said, adding that there were no plans to lay off permanent employees.

Rolex, which is privately owned by the Geneva-based foundation Hans Wilsdorf, does not publish any sales or financial figures.

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