Watch industry bosses more optimistic about 2013 - poll
* 65 pct of watch executives optimistic about 2013-Deloitte
* Americas and rest of Asia to offset slow China
* Labour and supply shortages a concern
ZURICH, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Swiss watch industry bosses are more optimistic about growth this year than last, expecting strong demand in North America and Latin America to more than offset slowing export sales to China.
A poll by Deloitte found that 65 percent of 53 top watch executives - including leaders of major brands and component makers - said they had a positive outlook for the industry. Last year the figure was 49 percent.
"There's quite a strong sense that North American demand will be a strong growth driver ... There is also a huge amount of opportunity in Latin America and the rest of Asia," said Howard da Silva, leader of Deloitte's consumer business.
Tourist shopping across Europe is also expected to help counter a slower Chinese market. Exports of Swiss watches to China fell 17.5 percent between January and July. They fell 9.6 percent to Hong Kong, the biggest market for Swiss watches, but the slowdown was less marked in July than in the first half of the year.
Two-thirds of the executives polled said they expected strongest growth in the market for watches costing more than 5,000 Swiss francs, Deloitte said.
However, supply side challenges and the availability of labour will be a concern this year, the poll showed.
Swiss lawmakers introduced laws this year enforcing stricter rules for applying the coveted "Swiss made" label to watches. Separately Swatch Group has cut back on third-party supplies in order to concentrate on its own brands. Both elements have put pressure on watchmakers to acquire suppliers and extend their production facilities, leading to supply and labour shortages.
"The war for talent is a big concern for smaller independent manufacturers. Bigger players can offer more attractive conditions," da Silva said.
Consolidation in the industry is likely to continue, with large suppliers the key acquisition targets - further raising the pressure on smaller independent players that are left with fewer sourcing options. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Sophie Walker)
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