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Richemont to Cut 211 Swiss Watch Jobs

Nov 27, 2016 10:19 AM   By Rapaport News
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Richemont is on the cusp of another round of layoffs at its Swiss watchmaking operations as demand for timepieces sank this year.

The Geneva-headquarter luxury group plans to cut 211 jobs at Piaget and Vacheron Constantin, Swiss trade union Unia said. This follows 300 layoffs across Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Cartier in May, according to Unia.

Sales at Richemont’s specialist watchmakers – which include Piaget and Vacheron Constantin – slid 17 percent in the six months to September 30, mirroring a decline in the Swiss watch sector. Switzerland’s watch exports fell 11 percent in the first 10 months of the year, recording the steepest drop in October as shipments fell 16 percent. 

"Richemont regrets that the measures announced are necessary but reflect the global downturn in demand," the company said in a statement to Rapaport News

A "social plan" negotiated between Richemont and its staff in February 2016, valid for one year, is "a responsible plan, favorable to our employees," the company argued, adding negotiations with "social partners" will continue until December 6.

Richemont’s decision “shows you they don’t expect watch demand to bounce back strongly for the next year or two,” Bloomberg cited Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox as saying. “They’re preparing for the new reality in the industry.”

Image: Nicholas Putz
Tags: Cartier, Jon Cox, Kepler Cheuvreux, layoffs, Piaget, Rapaport News, Richemont, Swiss watch exports, Swiss watches, Swiss watchmaking, Unia, Vacheron Constantin, watches
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