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It's one of those watershed moments.

Apple Inc.'s still relatively young watch "outsold the entire Swiss watch industry" last year, estimates from Strategy Analytics suggest.

And by "a huge margin," at that, the research firm said in its recent report, as the famed Swiss industry is "losing the smart watch wars."

Strategy Analytics estimated that shipments of the Apple Watch surged 36 per cent to 30.7 million units in 2019 from a year earlier.

Swiss shipments, in turn, fell 13 per cent to 21.1 million from 24.2 million.

"Apple Watch is delivering a better product through deeper retail channels and appealing to younger consumers who increasingly want digital wrist wear," senior analyst Steven Waltzer said in the Strategy Analytics report

"The window for Swiss watch brands to make an impact in smart watches is closing."

He lauded the "blend of attractive design, user-friendly tech and sticky apps [that] makes the Apple Watch wildly popular in North America, Western Europe and Asia.”

Apple reported in its recent first-quarter results that its wearables business, which takes in the watch and its AirPods, brought in revenue of US$10-billion, compared with US$7.3-billion a year earlier.

The Swiss industry is suffering lower volumes.

While the value of its exports rose 2.4 per cent to 21.7 billion Swiss francs last year, or about $29.5-billion, unit shipments fell by three million, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, which boasts about 500 members.

"The pattern of recent months was repeated in December, with growth in the higher-value segment and a decline in other ranges," the group said in its latest sales report.

“Watches priced over 3,000 francs (export price) grew strongly, at 12.9 per cent by value. Below this level, export turnover decreased by 5.2 per cent compared with December, 2018.”

It cited strong growth in China, in particular.