Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Hublot are the latest three watch companies to announce a temporary factory closure and suspension of its production in light of the recent rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Switzerland. This news follows closely behind Rolex’s announcement that its factories will be closed until March 27 pending “evolution of the epidemic.”
Patek Philippe made an announcement as reported by WWD that it had shut down its “production sites and its head office starting Wednesday, and running through March 27,” and continuing in an email: “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.” Additionally, the luxury watchmaker posted on Instagram that it “decided to temporarily suspend [its] monthly Instagram rendezvous on the 18th of each month.”
In an announcement on Twitter, Audemars Piguet wrote: “In this period of uncertainty, people’s safety remains at the heart of our priorities. This is why we have decided to close our Swiss production sites as well as some of our offices and boutiques in various countries until the end of March.”
In this period of uncertainty, people’s safety remains at the heart of our priorities. This is why we have decided to close our Swiss production sites as well as some of our offices and boutiques in various countries until the end of March. pic.twitter.com/CXQauug7vO
— Audemars Piguet (@AudemarsPiguet) March 18, 2020
LVMH-owned Hublot also announced via Instagram that it would be closing its Nyon outpost indefinitely: “Due to the global spread of COVID-19, as a precautionary measure, and in order to protect the health and well-being of our staff and their families, we have decided to temporarily close our Manufacture’s production site until further notice. We are confident in our ability to collectively rise to meet new challenges and will overcome this crisis, together.”
Just this past Monday, March 16, the Swiss government declared a state of emergency until April 19, seeing a mandatory shut down of “all shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment and leisure facilities… with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies and health facilities.” At the same time, $10.5 billion CHF has been set aside and made readily available to help the country get through the crisis.
Depending on how much COVID-19 will end up affecting Swiss watch production, it could have a consequential domino effect on its first and second hand markets. In other coronavirus-related news, the Las Vegas Strip is closing for 30 days.