Rolex has reopened its headquarters and production sites in Switzerland, the company confirmed to WatchPro today, after all security measures recommended by the Swiss government had been put in place to ensure the safety of employees.
Manufacturing stopped on March 16, and Rolex has been preparing its sites for reopening since April 29 when the company said it was working towards “a gradual opening in the near future”.
Returning today means 60 days of production have been lost, and it looks like that manufacturing will not return to full capacity immediately as social distancing advice remains in place in Switzerland.
The country has been comparatively successful at limiting the spread and number of deaths to Coronavirus, which has allowed many watchmakers to return to production including Patek Philippe, Breitling, Swatch Group brands and LVMH brands. Production for most Richemont maisons remains highly restricted, according to the managing director of Montblanc Watches.
Rolex’s forced closure for 60 days represents 16.4% of its year and likely to rob the market of over 160,000 watches this year.
Rolex has released no additional details about when or if it will launch new models in 2020 and when distribution to its retail partners will return to normal.
Switzerland is well into a phased reopening of its economy.
On April 27, salons, florists and DIY shops were allowed to re-open with precautionary measures in place, such as the use of face masks.
Phase two began on Monday this week, with compulsory schools re-opened, as well as all shops and several leisure facilities. Restaurants and bars have opened with restrictions on numbers. Public transport is back to its full timetable.
Borders with neighbouring Germany, Austria and France are expected to fully reopen on June 15 and events, around the same time that larger gatherings will be permitted.
Events with more than 1,000 people will not be allowed until the end of August at the earliest.