The world\'s biggest watch group Swatch said Tuesday it has for the first time exceeded 7.0 billion Swiss francs in annual sales despite the negative impact of the strong local currency. The group expects 2012 to be a year of \"great challenge\" but said it is \"confident of generating quality growth.\" At constant exchange rates, sales last year jump 21.7 percent to 7.1 billion Swiss francs ($5.9 billion), Swatch said in a statement. However, using current exchange rates to reflect the Swiss franc\'s strong gains over the past year, sales were down 10.8 percent. \"Strong brands have registered excellent growth for the group not only in Greater China but also in all other regions and in all price segments,\" Swatch said. The group said that despite the negative effects of the exchange rate, it expects a \"good\" net and operating profit. A strong Swiss franc means that overseas sales in foreign currencies come in lower when converted into the local unit.