Qatar and Saudi Arabia register a decrease in sales of luxury Swiss watches

The UAE was the eighth biggest market in the world for luxury Swiss made watches in February, according to the latest industry data. Figures released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the country imported watches valued at 63.3 Swiss francs ($69.4m), up nearly five percent on the same month in 2010.

Other Gulf nations also figured in the top 30 importers of Swiss watches last month although Saudi Arabia, ranked 15th, saw an 11.6 percent decline in the value of imports compared to last year. Qatar also saw imports slump last month with 15.2m Swiss francs worth of imports, more than 28 percent down on the same month last year.

By contrast, both Oman and Kuwait saw Swiss watch imports rocket. The value of imports to Oman rose 271 percent to 8.7m Swiss francs while Kuwait imported watches worth 5.7m Swiss francs, a rise of 104 percent.

Throughout the Middle East, the number of Swiss watches imported rose by more than 38 percent to nearly 248,000 units in February, the Federation data said. The largest market for Swiss watches in February was Hong Kong which was worth 273m Swiss francs, up 20.2 percent on the same month last year.

Analysts have said some Middle East markets could be hit by lower tourist numbers in the wake of recent unrest.