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TRADITIONAL IS TREASURED IN THESE TOUGH TIMES, SWISS WATCH SALES INDICATE -- INDUSTRY REPORT

 NEW YORK, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- If Swiss watch sales are any indication, the traditional is treasured more than ever in these tough economic times.
 Once thought of as becoming obsolete, the mechanical watch, dating to the 14th century origin of watchmaking, jumped in worldwide sales last year and shows further vibrant growth this year, says Peter Laetsch, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. And the platinum watch, all the rage in the 1940s, has found new popularity.
 "Of course, digital and analog watches with a quartz movement account for the lion's share, about 90 percent, of the world market for Swiss watches," Laetsch says. "But our mechanical watch exports have escalated dramatically -- from 2.6 million in 1991 to 4.1 million in 1992."
 The 57 percent increase in mechanical watch exports takes on even greater significance because they are high-end quality items and, as a result, account for 45.6 percent of the total dollar volume of Swiss watch sales, he says.
 Platinum watches remain a small fraction of the market compared to gold, but Laetsch says they grew five-fold from 2,000 to 10,000 between 1988 and 1992.
 All this is good news for the Swiss watch industry, Laetsch notes, since a recent Gallup poll of 1,008 adults found nearly seven out of ten, 69 percent, prefer Swiss watches.
 For a free brochure, "Timely Tips on Fine Watches," write Watchmakers of Switzerland Information Center, 608 Fifth Ave., Suite 802, New York, NY 10020.
 -0- 8/24/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Laetsch available for interview/
 /CONTACT: Ellin Ginsburg or Dana Lauren of Herman Associates, 212-935-2832/


CO: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry ST: IN: HOU SU:

TS-GK -- NYFNS2 -- 5283 08/24/93 07:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 24, 1993
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