Risks and opportunities for the Swiss watch industry

Kenel, Alexander ; Pasche, Cyril (Dir.)

Mémoire de bachelor : Haute école de gestion de Genève, 2018 ; TDEE 372.

In the first part of my bachelor thesis I am presenting the watch industry in Switzerland. My goal is to impart the most essential information to convey a good overview about this highly interesting domain. I am explaining the current state of the sector, but also important historical events like the quartz crisis from the 1970ies. Furthermore, there is an introduction to the most important Swiss... Plus

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    Summary
    In the first part of my bachelor thesis I am presenting the watch industry in Switzerland. My goal is to impart the most essential information to convey a good overview about this highly interesting domain. I am explaining the current state of the sector, but also important historical events like the quartz crisis from the 1970ies. Furthermore, there is an introduction to the most important Swiss watch companies, namely Swatch Group, Richemont, Rolex and LVMH. These four corporations have a total market share of almost 50% in the world. Moreover, there is a short explanation of how mechanical watches work and which attributes makes them so desirable. In the second part of my bachelor thesis, I am analysing the most vital risks, but also opportunities for the watch sector. The Swiss watch industry is heavily export oriented and strongly dependent on the worldwide state of the economy. In years of crises, the watch industry suffers more than the average of industrial sectors. Vice versa, in years of economic prosperity, the Swiss watch industry delivers extraordinary results. A good economic development is therefore imperative for the success of the industry. Because of the high importance of external demand, I am analysing the most significant importing countries and regions for Swiss timepieces. I look into political, economic, socio-cultural and legal aspects that could influence the watch exports. Another risk that is repeatedly stated by executives working in the watch industry is the overvalued Swiss franc. The strong Swiss franc is considered as one of the major risks for the watch industry. I examined if there is a directly observable correlation between the exchange rate of the Swiss franc and the watch exports. For that, I compared the exchange rate of the Swiss franc with the Hong Kong Dollar, US-Dollar, renminbi and euro. Afterwards, I compared if watch exports were higher if the Swiss franc was comparably weaker, respectively if exports suffered if the Swiss franc was strong. My bachelor thesis ends with a conclusion, where I share my personal view and my thoughts about the development of the sector. My conclusion is made with the help of the information that I gathered for my bachelor thesis, as well as my subjective impressions and opinion on the matter.