Swatch sales to tick up in current year

Swatch Group, the world’s biggest watch maker, is expecting double-digit sales growth this year on the back of stronger demand in China, easing concerns of a downturn in this key export market.

Swiss watchmakers sold less in China last year after the government there cracked down on illegitimate gift-giving of luxury items, but Swatch – whose brands range from the cheap plastic watches which gave the group its name to pricey Omega and Breguet timepieces – has fared better than rivals.

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This reflects the fact that its mid-market Tissot and Longines brands, which do not cost enough to be considered possible bribes, sell well to China’s rising middle classes.

Chief executive Nick Hayek said: “Swatch Group will have double-digit growth even if mainland China is only growing single-digit. We are strong in all regions of the world.”