U.K. Collectors Are Investing in Swiss Watches as Brexit Looms

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U.K. collectors are increasingly investing in Swiss watches.

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As Brexit approaches, U.K. collectors are looking to invest in Switzerland’s best timepieces.

Sales of Swiss watches in the U.K. grew more than 58% in February, according to a report last week by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The industry as a whole exported goods worth about CHF1.8 billion (US$1.8 billion), up 3.4% from February 2018.

The spike in interest from British buyers “is explained by stockpiling ahead of Brexit,” according to the report. Those sales made up 80% of the overall increase in sales in February.

Buyers in the U.K. have spent about CHF241.6 million on Swiss watches so far this year, the Federation stated. The Brexit deadline was originally March 29, but it has been extended as lawmakers have yet to agree on an exit strategy.

China also saw strong sales, with a 15.1% increase compared to January. Other markets that saw increases include Japan, which registered a 19.4% jump and Singapore, which posted a 18.6% rise in sales,  “an unprecedented level of growth for February,” the report said.

But sales in other major markets declined, with Hong Kong seeing a dip of 3.8% and the U.S. declining 6.6%, the report said.

High-end timepieces are the strongest performers, according to the report. Those priced at over CHF3,000 continued to show strong growth, which has been the trend for almost two years.