As that other great commentator on the watch industry, Alfred Tennyson might have mused -
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of... pain.
Courtesy of the FH
Now apologies for the fuzzy condition of the image, but in fairness, the statements from the FH regarding the purported growing strength of the Swiss watch industry are somewhat fuzzy in their logic when viewing their own graph.
Let's make this pretty simple. As the graph above shows, export numbers have been slowly, but steadily dropping off since August. Now taken in context of previous years? Yes, things are somewhat better. But while I think that this is a "glass is half-full" point of view, it doesn't necessarily mean that there is no water in the glass at all. But it does mean that the water is rapidly evaporating.
In speaking with a friend how knows about these things, he has informed me that the HR scalpels are out, and as the fat has already been trimmed, the next step is happening - assembling companies are starting to cut hours. More than that, several other assemblers are simply letting staff go. And that's the part that should be most concerning. You don't hear about people like assemblers getting let go. Let's face facts, they are not brand employees. Owing to this, the leaders of these big groups, and even the smaller brands can claim that all is well! But it isn't. This is yet another canary in the coalmine.
In reflecting back on the incredible shrinking fair that is BaselWorld, and whether their over-inflated egos can admit it, SIHH as well, let's be very honest - this is a symptom of a larger problem. The fairs, the number of attending brands, retailers and enthusiasts are merely a reflection of the overall health of the industry. And right now? The industry is still paying the price of playing with Confederate money for so many years.