Switzerland’s Jura Arc, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, has seen significant decline in work for the 50,000 people in the watchmaking and manufacturing industry. Some 40,000 are currently on some form of unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With stores being closed and travel has stopped, Swiss made watch sales are expected to decline 25% this year, the largest decline ever seen – more than the quartz crisis of the 70’s which saw a 15.2% fall in exports. This loss of revenue for the industry is the largest seen since WWII.
The larger, more well established brands will weather the storm, but it is expected that 30-60 smaller, independent brands won’t make it by the end of the year. Experts do believe that the industry will bounce back in 2021 and recover by 15%, but it’s hard to make predictions at this moment with all the uncertainty that lies ahead. Swiss watchmaking has been through some hard times before, and this is just another one that they will have to survive and be there when people can feel ready to treat themselves with a luxury watch.