Turkiye’s import of Swiss watches increased by 38.6 percent in the first half of 2022 to $117.5 million, making it the 21st largest buyer in the world.
Imports in January-June leaped nearly 143 percent compared with the same period of 2020, reports showed from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS).
Türkiye paid $180 million for Swiss watches in 2021 and ranked 22nd in the list of the largest importers.
Commenting on the strong demand, experts say people in Türkiye see Swiss watches as a safe bet against inflation, a kind of investment such as real estate and cars.
“Supply problems are hitting the watch industry, just like what happens in the automotive sector. Production declined. In Türkiye, the prices of second-hand watches soared because there is limited number of new watches on the market,” said Volkan Demirkuşak, an expert.
Given this picture, the Swiss watches have become ever more “valuable,” he said.
“As the prices of houses and cars rise,people started to consider the watches as an alternative investment,” Demirkuşak explained.
Ramazan Kaya from Saat&Saat agrees that it makes sense for people to invest in those watches. He also added that demand is increasing because consumers think if exchange rates go higher, they may not afford to buy one later.
Swiss watches enjoyed strong global demand in the first half of this year, the FHS said in a report.
Swiss watch exports between January and June 2022 amounted to 11.9 billion francs (around $12.3 billion), representing a growth of 11.9 percent compared with the same period in 2021.
The U.S. at $1.9 billion, China at $1.1 billion and Hong Kong at $1.1 billion topped the list of largest buyers of Swiss watches in the first half of 2022.