May 2, 2020
Rolex Takes Steps To Reopen Watchmaking Facilities In The Near Future
While Rolex has shuttered production facilities since March 16 over concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the brand issued a statement on April 29 that offers the first glimpse at a plan to restart manufacturing. The brief statement attributed to the brand promises Rolex will comply to all Swiss government security measures regarding the pandemic, and states that steps are being taken for a gradual reopening in the near future. While the statement makes no concrete reference to dates or the steps being taken, this news comes as a breath of fresh air after over 12 percent of manufacturing time for 2020 has been lost due to COVID-19 related factory shutdowns. An additional comment from the brand this week confirms there has been no additional updates on the possibility of new Rolex releases, after a recent statement suggested there would be no new models unveiled for the brand in 2020.
Patek Philippe Resumes Manufacturing With Reduced Staff Presence
After closing manufacturing facilities on March 21 over COVID-19 related restrictions, Patek Philippe announced it resumed production and all other departments on April 27. As part of its short announcement, the brand stated that working hours and staff presence will be reduced at all facilities in accordance with Swiss government recommendations, while Patek Philippe employees currently working remotely will continue doing so for the foreseeable future. No comment was made on the easing of these reductions, but as Switzerland emerges from the peak of COVID-19 infections more progress may come in the coming weeks and months.
Girard-Perregaux And Ulysse Nardin Reopen Factories
As part of a brand statement on April 30, Kering Watches Manufacture, which manufactures watches for both Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin, announced that manufacturing operations have resumed in a limited capacity and will gradually ramp up after a COVID-19 related hiatus. In its announcement, Kering Watches Manufacture laid out a series of restrictions and precautions surrounding this reopening. All workers not essential to production, including marketing, human resources, commercial operations, and more will continue to work from home, while essential factory workers have been divided into teams of 35 and are working in staggered shifts to maximize physical distancing throughout the manufacturing process. The COVID-19 crisis has been the first production halt in the long histories of both Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin.
Zenith To Restart Manufacturing May 4
While Zenith manufacturing has been halted since March 17 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, brand CEO Julien Tornare announced in a video conference on April 29 that production will resume on May 4. Tornare was unclear about any restrictions or precautions surrounding this reopened production, although mention was made of full operation capacity not resuming until mid-June. As part of his statement, Tornare confirmed that watch servicing and logistical operations were resumed over a week ago. Tornare also mentioned limited shipping efforts have been resumed, particularly to the Chinese market where retailers have begun to reopen in the wake of the virus. These operations have been extremely limited in scope so far, with Tonare claiming only six to eight workers have been handling servicing and shipping operations on one day per week. Zenith’s administrative workers are expected to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future.
IWC Becomes The First Brand To Earn New Level Of Responsible Jewelry Council Certification
IWC recently announced it has become the first luxury watch brand to comply with the Responsible Jewelry Council’s newest 2019 Code of Practices standard for responsible sourcing of precious materials and sustainable corporate practices. Through an independent third party audit, IWC was found to be compliant with all aspects of the stringent new standard, going above and beyond the legal requirement for supply chain management and responsible business operations. The audit also noted IWC’s efforts in ethical materials sourcing and reinvestment in local communities. The brand is currently working on further steps to comply with the Responsible Jewelry Council’s new voluntary Chain of Custody certification, ensuring IWC’s responsibly and ethically sources precious metals including gold, silver, and platinum. If it is successful, IWC will become one of the first Swiss luxury watch brands to receive this additional certification.