The value of Swiss jewelry exports climbed 10.9 percent last year to 21.4 billion francs ($23.5 billion) despite the economic crisis, the Swiss Jewelry Industry Federation said Tuesday.

The top markets for jewelry exports were Hong Kong and the United States, the federation said.

Exports to Hong Kong grew 6.8 percent, compared to 2011, to 4.37 billion francs ($4.8 billion), while exports to the United States rose 10.1 percent, compared to 2011, to 2.18 billion francs ($2.39 billion).

Watches were the top export item, with the value of exports of timepieces rising 11.5 percent, compared to 2011, to 20.2 billion francs ($22.2 billion), the jewelry federation said.

Swiss watchmakers sold a total of 29.1 million watches abroad in 2012, well above the recent annual average of 25 million units.

Watch exports, however, fell 2.2 percent, compared to the previous year.

The biggest export gains in the sector were made in the segment of watches with a price of more than 3,000 francs (about $3,302).

Exports of timepieces in this category soared 13.1 percent, the federation said. EFE