Feb 23, 2015
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Watchmaker Ulysse Nardin implements partial unemployment measures

Feb 23, 2015

Swiss luxury watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, which is very popular with Russian collectors, is putting partial unemployment measures in place, it confirmed to the AFP on Friday.

The watch company, which was purchased last November by French luxury group Kering, has put a portion of its 320 employees on partial unemployment, according to the regional versions of the newspapers Impartial and L'Express. 

Photo: ulysse-nardin.com

The average rate is 20%, but rises to 60% for certain positions, according to daily newspapers in Neuchâtel, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, which specify that such measures were taken at the end of last year. 

"The Russia-Ukrainian crisis is the primary motivating factor: we have suffered its effects over the past year," said Patrik Hoffmann, its chief executive, quoted on ArcInfo, the site that brings together information from both newspapers.

"But the exchange rate and falling oil prices have also had an impact," he added. 

Other Swiss watch brands have already implemented partial unemployment in recent months. 

At the end of last year, watchmaker Cartier, owned by Richemont, the world’s second largest luxury-goods company, implemented similar measures in November on its Villars-sur-Glane site (Switzerland). 

Tag Heuer, which is owned by LVMH, also announced at the end of October the dismissal of 46 persons and lay-offs of 49 other employees. 

After years of strong growth, challenges to the Swiss watch industry have multiplied in recent months, between the slowdown in China, where luxury watch sales have been hit hard by anti-corruption measures, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the drop in oil prices accompanied by a fall of the ruble. Added to this: the sharp rise of the Swiss franc following the decision of the Swiss central bank to abandon the cap on the currency’s value against the euro.

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