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Discussion Starter #1
Here's an update on what's going on in the world of Swiss watch manufacturing:

Covid-19 brings Swiss watchmaking to a standstill

Switzerland’s watchmaking industry has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic, with the sector likely to suffer the worst crisis of its history in 2020. Nevertheless, experts are confident in the ability of the industry to recover, as it has done in the past.

For several weeks, a deathly silence has reigned over Switzerland’s watchmaking workshops. Almost all production lines have been stopped, with employees required to stay at home as they wait for better times.

“Of the 50,000 people working in businesses that are covered by collective labour agreements, 40,000 are currently on partial unemployment. Something which has never been seen in the history of Swiss watchmaking,” says Ludovic Voillat, spokesperson for the Convention of Swiss Watchmaking Employersexternal link.

The lockdowns imposed on a large part of the world’s population, the closure of stores and the inability to travel have put the brakes on sales of “Swiss Made” watches in markets around the world. According to a report by Bank Vontobel published in early April, the sector’s exports will decline by 25% this year, more than during the quartz crisis of 1975 (down 15.2%) or during the subprime crisis of 2009 (down 22%).
watch exports graphic

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“The sector’s revenue is likely to fall on average by 20% this year,” confirms Olivier Mueller, expert watchmaker at LuxeConsult. “In terms of volumes, we’re going to fall back to levels seen in 1945 with probably fewer than 16 million watches sold.”


Subcontractors and small brands hardest hit

But not everyone working in what is one of Switzerland’s prime export sectors will be affected equally. Prestige brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Omega can be expected to ride out the storm without too much damage. But the case is vastly different for several small independent brands that could be forced to close up shop over the coming months.

“Between 30 and 60 ‘Swiss Made’ watch brands – of a total 350 – will not survive,” predicts Mueller. “By my count, a dozen watchmaking companies have already filed for bankruptcy since the beginning of the crisis.”

The industry’s subcontractors are also at risk of irreversible damage. In addition to a global recession which threatens to rival that of the oil crisis of the 1970s, the sector is already suffering from significant structural problems.

The development of connected watches in recent years delivered a heavy blow to “Swiss Made” watch brands active in the entry-level segment.

“The falling volumes, which have again been accelerated by this crisis, are having an impact on the suppliers who are nevertheless one of the pillars of our industry,” Mueller says.

How many job losses?

There are also serious concerns about the preservation of jobs and watchmaking skills.

“It’s difficult to see how Swiss watchmaking will be able to come out of this crisis without major social disruption,” says Raphaël Thiemard, head of the watchmaking division for Unia, Switzerland’s largest union.

While most businesses are for the moment holding out by resorting to mass or partial unemployment, it seems that waves of redundancies by the end of the year are inevitable.

Especially since temporary workers, always the first to be laid off during difficult times, already paid the price at the end of last year due to the marked reduction in exports to Hong Kong, a leading destination market for Swiss watches.

“During the 2009 crisis, the sector lost just over 4,000 permanent jobs. We could expect to see a similar evolution with the current crisis, even if it’s difficult to make predictions, given how many uncertainties there are,” Voillat says.

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Everything will depend above all on the speed with which business resumes in Asian markets. In China, some positive signs are already being seen with the gradual end to the lockdown, although a full restart of the economy is not expected until the end of summer.


Waiting for ‘positive emotions’

That said, Bank Vontobel is betting on the industry making a strong comeback in 2021, with exports expected to rebound by around 15%. But the market could also be extremely saturated, with most brands having delayed the launch of their new models until next year.

“The Swiss industry has repeatedly proven its resilience and its ability to bounce back,” says Thiemard. “Its principal strength resides in its capacity to export its products to the entire world. We saw this during the Hong Kong crisis: when a market is in difficulty, other places pick up the slack, in this case China, Japan or even the United States.”

Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Swiss Watchmaking Industry Federation, recently sent a similar message to watchmaking businesses and associations.

“I strongly hope that our businesses will pass through this difficult period without being too affected in their substance and once again become fully operational once times are better: Swiss watchmaking will of course be present when people can again have positive emotions and the desire to treat themselves.”


Economic crisis hits the Jura and Alps

The Jura Arc, the cradle of the Swiss watchmaking and microtechnology industries, has been heavily hit by the economic crisis provoked by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study released last week by UBS.

Eastern Switzerland, which also counts thousands of jobs in the industry, is also suffering. Meanwhile, the near paralysis of the tourism industry has had an impact on the Alpine cantons of Graubünden and Valais.

Large urban centres such as Zurich, Basel, Geneva or Bern are less exposed to activities linked to tourism and manufacturing. While the impact there will be more muted, these areas will not escape the recession, with the Swiss economy expected to contract by 6.7% in 2020, its largest slowdown since 1975, as forecast by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).


Source: Swissinfo
 

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Am really so worried about the industry in general FB. Like everything
else to 100% honest. Just can imagine the amount of people that have
lost, or will lose jobs coming up. Plus am wondering if the worst is over,
or is actually only the beginning, and tip of the iceberg.

Hearing that 30-60 brands could be disappearing is really stunning. It's
all pretty terrible, and once again seems like a microcosm of everything
going on everywhere. I mean it's affecting everyone, and everything
across Switzerland it sounds like, and it's the same here FB. Guess we
really just have to try our hardest to be positive, and hope for this strong
comeback.

Thanks so very much for the update ! (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
30 to 60 brands will always be the smaller to medium ones, but rarely the high-end ones or the brands popular in China or India. For instance, Steinhart might have a few problems (inexpensive, good quality homages, but a small independent company), but I don't see Moser & Cie etc having any real problems, their clients are the very well off, which aren't going anywhere.

It's hard to tell, as the Asian markets prefer different brands than us in the West, for instance, Longines and Tissot are popular in Asia as the first "entry level luxury", not so much in the West.

There are a lot of rumours that Swatch Group is not doing well over the last few years, but I highly doubt they will have any issues in the long term, but if there is less demand for their ETA movements by the smaller brands, mixed with lower sales of their brands, which do not have the marketing weight of Rolex, ie: Omega, they to might see problems, but their offering is so good these days I can't really see it happening. I could be wrong.

What I am worried about are companies like Mühle Glashütte, Nomos, Steinhart etc. They are independent and/or family owned, so are more at risk (no big purse to fall back against). I know MG's biggest markets are Germany and Asia, but I don't know how strong their sales in Asia are. They did just spend a lot of coin revamping their factory (I was lucky enough to tour the "old" factory last summer), but again MG is doing something else intelligent, their products are unique in the market (unique designs, extremely high quality, some would say you either love it or hate it), and they are eschewing Youtube and other popular social media channels and are really concentrating on LinkedIn, targetting professionals around the world, rather than the fragmented "mass consumers". Interesting strategy. Zenith is doing this to, as are JLC and Jacob & Co, but these last two seems to be making only a half-hearted effort.

We'll see what happens. As mentioned in the article, 2021 is forecast to be a good year. I'm waiting for the "sigh of relief" from the world after 2 months of confinement, there will likely be a buying spree of epic proportions, but only those still employed...
 

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Thanks for posting that information.

Unfortunately always the smaller guys that will take the worst knock.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for posting that information.

Unfortunately always the smaller guys that will take the worst knock.
Indeed.. I hope they all survive. The Swiss Government is offering interest free loans (payable after 5 years) to companies and the ability to put workers on "partial unemployment" to help relieve the strain. So that should help some. But we will see how quick sales take off after.

For companies like Steinhart, their watches are made in Switzerland by Palladium AG, but they Steinhart is actually a German company and I am not sure how much the German government is helping small business.
 

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Kind of hard for the Swiss to sell their watches no matter what the Covid conditions are in Switzerland, most jewelry and watch boutiques around the world are closed so there is no demand for their product.

It was reported today over 100,000 small businesses in the U.S. are closed permanently due to the imposed shutdowns, literally millions of lives turned upside down, 33,000,000 our of work, and for what? In the U.S. Medicaid and Medicare is paying hospitals $13K and $38k respectively for handling a Covid patient who died, the larger amount if they were on a ventilator. They have even admitted on TV if someone dies, even if it was some other manner of death, but they tested positive (and I suspect even if they didn't) they get the money.

The death totals are being padded by the greedy and the panic mongers out for political gain. For doing this treachery to America, if I was in charge, they would be tried for treason and hung!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Kind of hard for the Swiss to sell their watches no matter what the Covid conditions are in Switzerland, most jewelry and watch boutiques around the world are closed so there is no demand for their product.

It was reported today over 100,000 small businesses in the U.S. are closed permanently due to the imposed shutdowns, literally millions of lives turned upside down, 33,000,000 our of work, and for what? In the U.S. Medicaid and Medicare is paying hospitals $13K and $38k respectively for handling a Covid patient who died, the larger amount if they were on a ventilator. They have even admitted on TV if someone dies, even if it was some other manner of death, but they tested positive (and I suspect even if they didn't) they get the money.

The death totals are being padded by the greedy and the panic mongers out for political gain. For doing this treachery to America, if I was in charge, they would be tried for treason and hung!
Your post went a bit off-topic, but I'll respond in kind...

To be honest, I agree with you on the fact that this is being used as a convenient excuse on the part of some to push their agendas (political or otherwise). I have also read reports of doctors being coerced or forced to list Covid as the cause of death, even when it was indeed something else. So yes, there may be that.

Conspiracy theorists have been saying that this was planned by China or some other group(s). Indeed, it is easy to let one's mind wander to try to find a rationalisation and meaning to an extraordinary situation (thus why shamans invented religions, to explain the unknown), it is also how humans deal with "reality" (example, we are all going to die, so why would anyone bother trying to do/create/make anything? But we do all the same). And out of that search for a meaning (or whatever) I have seen theories ranging as far as foreign countries wanting to interfere with elections in other countries, to allowing governments to strip away people's rights, to it being a ploy by the rich to get rid of the poor / older / weaker to make room for the young who spend money.

While I have trouble believing any of that being done on purpose, there are some who are using it as an excuse to do other things, example being the stripping away of rights that this is actively happening in Hungary.

If there indeed is some sort of conspiracy afoot, then unless you are dealing with a fanatic or fanatics, the normal way of finding the guilty party or parties is if you follow the trail of money, but that too is flawed as it will not always point to the guilty, there are "happy coincidences" in these sort of situations. Example being that Switzerland currently has no more clear acrylic plastic available, it has all been used to make barriers for the checkout tills at stores, which people just talk around as you cannot hear anything through the plastic barrier. But I hardly doubt Dupont Plastics is behind all of this. In reality, this biological soup we live in and are part of produces this sort of stuff all of the time, most of the time harmless to us, but every once in a while it will throw up an Ebola, the Measles, the Plague, West Nile Virus, Spanish Flu, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Smallpox, AIDS, the list goes on and on. It's just something that happens from time to time, like a typhoon or a car crash. We just have to deal with it as best we can.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's just as well half the watches we think are made in Switzerland are really made in China
Well, the parts are made there, and then assembled / cased in Switzerland. It's a rather purposely grey area, no manufacturer will say how much of the watch is made from imported parts (but modern Omega bracelets do say that China is the country of origin on the vacuum packed packaging).

There do exist Swiss companies that make everything in Switzerland, Vaucher being one and H. Moser & Cie being another famous one (among others): Introducing: The H. Moser Swiss Mad Watch, With A Case Made Of Real Swiss Cheese - HODINKEE
 

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Well, the parts are made there, and then assembled / cased in Switzerland. It's a rather purposely grey area, no manufacturer will say how much of the watch is made from imported parts (but modern Omega bracelets do say that China is the country of origin on the vacuum packed packaging).

There do exist Swiss companies that make everything in Switzerland, Vaucher being one and H. Moser & Cie being another famous one (among others): Introducing: The H. Moser Swiss Mad Watch, With A Case Made Of Real Swiss Cheese - HODINKEE


😄 Oh wow, is that funny?! Or what FB?! Not only can they build, and
create some really incredible watches. But they have a sense of humor
at the same time ! 😀That Swiss Mad Watch is amazing, and actually
had thought it was a joke at first. But am glad it wasn't because it just
puts a smile on your face. So does the Venturer Swiss Mad, along with
all of their watches though FB.🙂
 

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Your post went a bit off-topic, but I'll respond in kind...

To be honest, I agree with you on the fact that this is being used as a convenient excuse on the part of some to push their agendas (political or otherwise). I have also read reports of doctors being coerced or forced to list Covid as the cause of death, even when it was indeed something else. So yes, there may be that.

Conspiracy theorists have been saying that this was planned by China or some other group(s). Indeed, it is easy to let one's mind wander to try to find a rationalisation and meaning to an extraordinary situation (thus why shamans invented religions, to explain the unknown), it is also how humans deal with "reality" (example, we are all going to die, so why would anyone bother trying to do/create/make anything? But we do all the same). And out of that search for a meaning (or whatever) I have seen theories ranging as far as foreign countries wanting to interfere with elections in other countries, to allowing governments to strip away people's rights, to it being a ploy by the rich to get rid of the poor / older / weaker to make room for the young who spend money.

While I have trouble believing any of that being done on purpose, there are some who are using it as an excuse to do other things, example being the stripping away of rights that this is actively happening in Hungary.

If there indeed is some sort of conspiracy afoot, then unless you are dealing with a fanatic or fanatics, the normal way of finding the guilty party or parties is if you follow the trail of money, but that too is flawed as it will not always point to the guilty, there are "happy coincidences" in these sort of situations. Example being that Switzerland currently has no more clear acrylic plastic available, it has all been used to make barriers for the checkout tills at stores, which people just talk around as you cannot hear anything through the plastic barrier. But I hardly doubt Dupont Plastics is behind all of this. In reality, this biological soup we live in and are part of produces this sort of stuff all of the time, most of the time harmless to us, but every once in a while it will throw up an Ebola, the Measles, the Plague, West Nile Virus, Spanish Flu, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Smallpox, AIDS, the list goes on and on. It's just something that happens from time to time, like a typhoon or a car crash. We just have to deal with it as best we can.

Do I think the Chinese Commies planned the Pandemic, No I don't!

What I do think is after the virus escaped from the lab they knowingly let the virus spread worldwide, hiding from the world the fact that it could be spread human to human right up until 23 January, they had the clowns in WHO shill for them stating as that as a fact in press conferences. China while locking down Wuhan from all domestic travel allowed international travel to continue, thereby knowingly spreading the virus worldwide. The reasons for that are nefarious no matter what conclusion you make for their intent.

Here in America with a booming Economy, the Democrat-Socialists (as the activist base now refer themselves to) saw another opportunity to take down their arch enemy, "The Orange Monster" Trump, when all other attempts had failed, Stormy Stormy, Emoluments Clause, and the plethora of other breathless Faux-Scandals, the largest, the coup attempts by the Obama's regime was Trump was coming into office, with the weaponized FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies dummying up a bogus Dossier and leaked to the press, illegal wiretaps on Trump's incoming administration, this in collusion with a willing Trump-hating MSM. Three years of the bogus "Russian Collusion" rants and memes which continued right up to this day. Although millions of dollars and gaggles of Independent investigators run by democrat political hacks came up with Zero, in fact with recent developments it is shown this entire thing was an illegal, seditionist plot.

The Pandemic proves to be a perfect try for yet another attempt to take down Trump and make him lose the election. using their Socialist Soulmates (the CCP) Pandemic, and shutdown the county and it's economy all with a twofold purpose, make tens of millions more dependent on Big Government, thereby fully re-stocking the Democrat Welfare Plantations, force mail-in voting which is ripe for Democrat voter fraud. The added bonus is to punish Middle America, which has the temerity to want to live their own lives free of an all-powerful central government.

Hospitals that have had to cancel elective surgeries and other services have had to lay off staff and lose money, so why of course they will chomp at the bit to recoup some of those monies by claiming, any, and all hospital deaths as Covid caused to collect the cash.

This U.S. Shutdown is a Democrat play for Power, pure and simple, and one just has to look a which States have the most Draconian Shutdown decrees and they are all run by Democrats, that's why you see Armed Protestors in Michigan, the folks their know what a Tyranny looks like it, and the Governor there is a Tyrant!

If you note nothing more than this fact... the Democrats go to extreme measures to deflect any and all blame for this Virus away from their Socialist Soulmates, the Chinese Communist Party, and put it on Trump, that should tell you everything!
 

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A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
So why steal them?
Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn, and collect watches.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
😄 Oh wow, is that funny?! Or what FB?! Not only can they build, and
create some really incredible watches. But they have a sense of humor
at the same time ! 😀That Swiss Mad Watch is amazing, and actually
had thought it was a joke at first. But am glad it wasn't because it just
puts a smile on your face. So does the Venturer Swiss Mad, along with
all of their watches though FB.🙂
It is! I have never seen that particular watch in real life, only in photos. Other Moser and Cie watches I have seen are normally quite stunning, but a few do fall into the "better in photos than in real life" category.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Do I think the Chinese Commies planned the Pandemic, No I don't!

What I do think is after the virus escaped from the lab they knowingly let the virus spread worldwide, hiding from the world the fact that it could be spread human to human right up until 23 January, they had the clowns in WHO shill for them stating as that as a fact in press conferences. China while locking down Wuhan from all domestic travel allowed international travel to continue, thereby knowingly spreading the virus worldwide. The reasons for that are nefarious no matter what conclusion you make for their intent.

Here in America with a booming Economy, the Democrat-Socialists (as the activist base now refer themselves to) saw another opportunity to take down their arch enemy, "The Orange Monster" Trump, when all other attempts had failed, Stormy Stormy, Emoluments Clause, and the plethora of other breathless Faux-Scandals, the largest, the coup attempts by the Obama's regime was Trump was coming into office, with the weaponized FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies dummying up a bogus Dossier and leaked to the press, illegal wiretaps on Trump's incoming administration, this in collusion with a willing Trump-hating MSM. Three years of the bogus "Russian Collusion" rants and memes which continued right up to this day. Although millions of dollars and gaggles of Independent investigators run by democrat political hacks came up with Zero, in fact with recent developments it is shown this entire thing was an illegal, seditionist plot.

The Pandemic proves to be a perfect try for yet another attempt to take down Trump and make him lose the election. using their Socialist Soulmates (the CCP) Pandemic, and shutdown the county and it's economy all with a twofold purpose, make tens of millions more dependent on Big Government, thereby fully re-stocking the Democrat Welfare Plantations, force mail-in voting which is ripe for Democrat voter fraud. The added bonus is to punish Middle America, which has the temerity to want to live their own lives free of an all-powerful central government.

Hospitals that have had to cancel elective surgeries and other services have had to lay off staff and lose money, so why of course they will chomp at the bit to recoup some of those monies by claiming, any, and all hospital deaths as Covid caused to collect the cash.

This U.S. Shutdown is a Democrat play for Power, pure and simple, and one just has to look a which States have the most Draconian Shutdown decrees and they are all run by Democrats, that's why you see Armed Protestors in Michigan, the folks their know what a Tyranny looks like it, and the Governor there is a Tyrant!

If you note nothing more than this fact... the Democrats go to extreme measures to deflect any and all blame for this Virus away from their Socialist Soulmates, the Chinese Communist Party, and put it on Trump, that should tell you everything!
I can understand your frustration, and I do share it to some extent (here in Europe). But please, can we agree to not discuss politics on a watch forum? This is a place to discuss our passions for watches.
 

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I can understand your frustration, and I do share it to some extent (here in Europe). But please, can we agree to not discuss politics on a watch forum? This is a place to discuss our passions for watches.
I can understand your frustration, and I do share it to some extent (here in Europe). But please, can we agree to not discuss politics on a watch forum? This is a place to discuss our passions for watches.

When the giant Sh*t Show that is negatively impacting hundreds of millions is playing out in real-time and the topic of this thread is "Swiss Watch Companies and "Covid", I think we could give a brief time out on having a circle jerk about the latest Seiko diver and have a serious side discussion on something that truly matters, something involving life and death and our futures, don't you?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
When the giant Sh*t Show that is negatively impacting hundreds of millions is playing out in real-time and the topic of this thread is "Swiss Watch Companies and "Covid", I think we could give a brief time out on having a circle jerk about the latest Seiko diver and have a serious side discussion on something that truly matters, something involving life and death and our futures, don't you?
I understand your frustration, and I do sympathise, but is this the right place, or the right time, to discuss politics, especially as it is formally prohibited by the terms and conditions of this forum ?

I may be wrong, but I think most people come here to discuss topics that they are passionate about, in this case it is watches, that help them forget the horrors of the world outside. It is why people have interests, what some call "hobbies", to ground themselves in a world that may be without sense or meaning.

In the past I too thought like you, getting fired up about some topic or cause, but in the end I have found that very, very few people are actually genuince to what they are saying and all too many are ready to exploit and twist it to their own wants and needs, no matter what side they are on (usually their own, their chose stance is a platform, a means to an end). Those who exploit are usually at the top, or near it.

Based on the photos I have seen that you yourself posted, would I be correct in guessing you were once in the military, and are now an older gentleman, watching the world change, but not into something that you originally fought to preserve?

If so, I ask only that you consider one thing: If you want to truly be free, let it go... As you likely already are aware, life is a load of bollocks. Always has been, always will be. Focus your energies onto and into something that you genuinely want to, something that lets you move the goalpost from here to there, if only by a little, be it restoring a car, or tractor, or watch.... Let others take up the fight against the evils of this world, when we are older it is the turn of the young. Things happen in waves, today it is going one way, in 20 years another. Letting go will likely make you happier.
 

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I understand your frustration, and I do sympathise, but is this the right place, or the right time, to discuss politics, especially as it is formally prohibited by the terms and conditions of this forum ?

I may be wrong, but I think most people come here to discuss topics that they are passionate about, in this case it is watches, that help them forget the horrors of the world outside. It is why people have interests, what some call "hobbies", to ground themselves in a world that may be without sense or meaning.

In the past I too thought like you, getting fired up about some topic or cause, but in the end I have found that very, very few people are actually genuince to what they are saying and all too many are ready to exploit and twist it to their own wants and needs, no matter what side they are on (usually their own, their chose stance is a platform, a means to an end). Those who exploit are usually at the top, or near it.

Based on the photos I have seen that you yourself posted, would I be correct in guessing you were once in the military, and are now an older gentleman, watching the world change, but not into something that you originally fought to preserve?

If so, I ask only that you consider one thing: If you want to truly be free, let it go... As you likely already are aware, life is a load of bollocks. Always has been, always will be. Focus your energies onto and into something that you genuinely want to, something that lets you move the goalpost from here to there, if only by a little, be it restoring a car, or tractor, or watch.... Let others take up the fight against the evils of this world, when we are older it is the turn of the young. Things happen in waves, today it is going one way, in 20 years another. Letting go will likely make you happier.

I'm sorry when I see my country going down the tubes 40 million out of work because of some Draconian shutdowns, based on Panic Peddling hype, and padded death numbers, I find it hard to even think about superfluous things like watch collections right now.

I'm out of here, for now, maybe forever, it was a nice 6 years but I refuse to ignore the greatest threat to my Nation since I have been alive, and pretend all is well when it clearly isn't and Tyrannical forces are attempting to take control and destroy it. I swore an Oath Twice, to "Protect, defend, and uphold the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC" and right now the domestic enemies are at the gates!
 

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You are a shill for the Chinese Communists and a filthy traitor!
 
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