PARIS — Add high-end Swiss watch labels to the factory shutdowns rolling across Europe — Patek Philippe, Rolex and Hublot are temporarily suspending production, taking a step further than orders from national authorities who are tightening measures to restrict movement in the country to combat coronavirus.
Patek Philippe is shutting production sites and its head office starting Wednesday, and running through March 27 — a date that may be reevaluated, depending on the evolution of COVID-19 situation, the watchmaker said in an e-mailed statement.
“Keeping everyone’s safety top of mind at all times will help us to navigate this challenging period and by doing this we may contribute to the stabilization of the situation, hoping that we will be able to safely revert to our activities as soon as possible,” the luxury watchmaker said.
Rolex closed production sites in Geneva, Bienne and Crissier, Switzerland, starting Tuesday, through March 27, as well — again, the reopening date may be revisited, the label said.
Hublot, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, also revealed the closure of its production site, a temporary measure it said would be applied until further notice.
“By way of precaution, and to protect our personnel, we have decided to go beyond our government’s current recommendations, and close our manufacture’s production site for the time being,” the high-end watchmaker noted.
“It is our hope that this decision will help comply with the need to reduce travel, as communicated by the public authorities, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect all of our citizens,” it added.
Swatch Group, which owns labels including Omega, Breguet and Blancpain, and Compagnie Financière Richemont, owner of Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre, among others, declined to comment. Swatch will update the markets on Thursday, during its annual results presentation.
The federation of the Swiss watch industry releases February watch export statistics on Thursday.