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Connected watches, virtually absent but still creating buzz at Baselworld

Watches that connect to your smartphone or even a satellite to ensure perfect time, regardless of where you are in the world, or alert you if you leave your phone behind? Although not on prominent display they were a hot topic of discussion this past week at Baselworld, the world's largest watch and jewellery fair. The show in the northern Swiss city was yet again dominated by intricate mechanical watches, symbolising centuries of tradition, and jewel-covered timepieces showcasing the luxury and glamour that never seem to go out of fashion.

Swiss immigration vote ticks off watchmakers

Switzerland's recent vote to curtail immigration from the European Union could seriously impact the Alpine country's booming watch trade, industry insiders warned this week. Nearly half of all employees in the sector are foreign nationals who either reside in Switzerland or commute across its borders to work, according to the Swiss Watch Industry Federation.

Watchmakers see uptick for timepieces at Baselworld show

Baselworld, the showcase for watchmakers, opened on a bright note on Thursday, with industry leaders seeing a rise in global demand despite a sharp slowdown for expensive watches in China. "We are confident for 2014," Jean-Daniel Pasche, head of the Swiss Watch Industry Federation, told AFP a day before the world's largest watch fair opened to the public. Francois Thiebaud, who heads the Swiss Exhibitors Committee, agreed.

Smartwatches? Not at this time, say wary Swiss

By Silke Koltrowitz BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - With their hundreds of years of watchmaking experience, Swiss watchmakers can afford to take a long view of technological fads and fashions. So-called smartwatches, packing computing power into a wrist-sized gadget, aren't in their plans for now. Technology groups from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to Sony Corp are counting on wearable electronic devices able to hook up to the Internet, melding fashion and technology in what could be the next mass consumer trend.

Smartwatches? Not at this time, say wary Swiss

By Silke Koltrowitz BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - With their hundreds of years of watchmaking experience, Swiss watchmakers can afford to take a long view of technological fads and fashions. So-called smartwatches, packing computing power into a wrist-sized gadget, aren't in their plans for now. Technology groups from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to Sony Corp are counting on wearable electronic devices able to hook up to the Internet, melding fashion and technology in what could be the next mass consumer trend.

Watchmakers look to bespoke design to court the super-rich

By Silke Koltrowitz CHIASSO, Switzerland (Reuters) - As luxury watchmakers seek to keep increasing sales while preserving exclusivity, they are taking a leaf out of the haute couture book, making watches to order with anything from diamond stars to fully personalized shapes and decorations. Big brands, such as Swatch Group's Omega or Richemont's Cartier, generate billions of dollars in sales, but as their timepieces grace ever more wrists, they lose their charm for some rich individualists.

Baselworld, taking the pulse on watches

The world's biggest watch fair is set to open this week in Basel, offering an industry showcase for the world's most extravagant, rare and complex time pieces. The 42nd edition of Baselworld, which opens in the northern Swiss city to the media on Wednesday and a day later to the public, is expected to draw some 100,000 visitors. Nearly 1,500 exhibitors, including leading watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breguet and Omega, will be there, offering up all different styles for all different budgets.

Clocks spring ahead one hour this weekend in most parts of Canada

TORONTO - Canadians who are already sleep deprived will lose an hour of shuteye this weekend as most parts of the country switch from standard time to daylight saving time. Before going to bed Saturday night, turn your clocks and watches ahead one hour. The major Canadian exception is most of Saskatchewan, which remains on standard time year-round. The return to standard time will occur on Nov. 2. A 1996 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported an eight per cent increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents on the Monday after the time change.

Swiss watch exports to China recover in December

By Silke Koltrowitz ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss watch exports to China rose in December, data showed on Thursday, adding to signs a difficult spell for luxury goods makers in an important market may be coming to an end after Swatch Group's <UHR.VX> upbeat statements on Wednesday. Swiss watchmakers sold fewer watches in China last year after a government crackdown on gift-giving to officials hit demand for expensive timepieces.

Swiss watchmakers clock record exports in 2013

Swiss watchmakers saw their export growth slow down significantly last year, but they still clocked a new record high, the Swiss Watch Industry said on Thursday. Swiss watch exports edged up 1.9 percent in 2013 to a record 21.8 billion Swiss francs ($24.1 billion, 17.8 billion euros), after gaining 11 percent in 2012, the federation said in a statement. "Expected to be a year of consolidation at a high level, 2013 lived up to its promise," it said.
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