While some might have thought that smartwatches from tech companies like Apple and Samsung never would have affected sales from Swiss watch makers, exports of Swiss watches have fallen for the first time in six years, suggesting that perhaps Apple poses a bigger threat to the industry than previously thought.

Shipments of Swiss watches declined by 1.5 percent to $1.5 billion, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Exports of watches that cost less than 200 francs, or around $205, plunged 13 percent, while exports of watches between 200 and 500 francs, or $512, fell 24 percent.

So, while high-end Swiss watches are keeping their crown, at least in the meantime, the low-end and midrange segments are suffering, presumably because of the rise of the smartwatch.

Watch shipments themselves make up one-tenth of Switzerland's exports, and in general, they have declined by 1.2 percent during the first eight months of 2015. In fact, Apple's entrance into the market in particular has spurred midrange and low-cost Swiss watch makers to develop smartwatches or watches with smart features of their own.

In fact, there was a 1.7 percent rise in the high-end Swiss watch market last month, with the largest manufacturers remaining Rolex, Swatch Group and Richemont.

Only time will tell exactly how big of an impact smartwatches have on the Swiss watch market. It is likely that smartwatch makers will start to pursue high-end devices like the Apple Watch Edition, however, it is unknown if this will greatly impact high-end Swiss watchmakers.

Via: Bloomberg

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