Swatch Group , the world's biggest watchmaker, said it continued to see healthy growth potential for the Swiss watch industry after releasing a 26 percent rise in 2012 net income that blew past expectations.

Net profit at the maker of Omega and Tissot watches rose to 1.608 billion Swiss francs last year, Swatch said in a statement on Monday. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a net profit of 1.485 billion francs.

"The signals from the markets around the world clearly indicate continued healthy growth potential for the Swiss watch industry and the Swatch Group," the company said.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz)