Jean-Frederique Dufour, the Chief-Executive of Rolex, has just notified Rolex staff that the Swiss watchmakers will be shutting down three factories in response to the exponential threat of COVID-19, from 5 pm today, Tuesday 17th March.
The factories in Geneva, Bienne and Christ will aim to reopen on March 27th, should the spread of novel coronavirus reduce during that period.
The shutdown was communicated to employees in a letter originally in French, but can be read below in a transcript provided by Time & Tide.
Like I have already said, we are going to face a very serious situation. With the objective to protect you, your familes and those close, but also to limit risks of propagation and the spread of Coronavirus we have decided to close our sites of production in Geneva, Bienne and Chirst from Monday 17th of March until Friday 27th of March.
This date is subject to change based on the evolution epidemic. Certain services will stay open to answer imperative operational questions.
We will send more details on the subject. From here we ask you to respect the letter, and the measures of confinement specified by the authorities in Switzerland and in France.
I am certain this bad passage in time will pass and we will adopt composure and contribute to stabalising the sitatuon and permit work in the best fashion.
Thank you for accepting the instructions of your managers to ensure this closure in good conditions. I hope it all ends, good luck for all the days to come and take good care of yourself.
It’s no secret that the market for Rolex watches is a cut-throat one, with most prospective buyers either on official waitlists, or fighting tooth and nail for pre-owned pieces.
The shutdown, which could very likely last long the specified 10 days, will surely only exacerbate this demand.
Now, have you ever wondered why you want a steel Rolex even though it’s not cool to want a steel Rolex? Jack Gilleland investigates.