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March 18th, 2020
The important news now out of Geneva is that Rolex ceases its three production factories in Geneva, Bienne, and Crissier for ten days due to the worsening Coronavirus pandemic. It is effective immediately from 5:00 CET, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Jean Frederic Dufour, the Rolex CEO, officially announced it via a letter to its employees. Rolex is ideally the first leading Swiss watchmaker to avow such a move.
The brand is expecting to resume the production on March 27, 2020. However, if the COVID-19 crisis persists, the date could be pushed back.
The fact is that for the next week and a half till now, Rolex will no longer produce its watches.
Rolex announced its production closure on the day when the Canto of Geneva urged emergency measures where gatherings of over five people are banned outdoors and indoors.
Moreover, Switzerland also declared a "State of Emergency" on Monday.
Here's a translation of the French text in Dufour's letter:
"In order to protect you, your families, and your loved ones, but also to limit the risks of spreading the Coronavirus as much as possible, we have decided to close our production sites in Geneva, Bienne, and Crissier from March 17 at 5:00 PM through Friday, March 27, 2020. That date may of course be pushed back according to the evolution of the epidemic."
According to reports, the number of individuals tested positive for the Coronavirus in Switzerland increased to 2,200 between Saturday and Sunday.
Moreover, the landlocked countries like Italy, Germany, Austria, and France are struggling with the outburst of novel Coronavirus.
Rolex is the first watch manufacturer to take such preventive measures. However, the brand is also in a leading position as the most valuable brand in the watch industry.
Whether it is about a new watch model or any official announcement, people look forward to it.
However, Switzerland has confirmed cases of 2,200 as of March 16 in comparison to about 28,000 in Italy and 5,380 in France.
In response to the State of Emergency declaration on Monday, every shop, restaurant and entertainment facility has to shut, except grocery shops, pharmacies and any healthcare facilities.
Rolex decided to stop the production for protecting its employees and their families and eventually helping to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
However, other Swiss watchmakers are also likely to shut down the production based on the current worsening situation in the country.
Rolex watches are among the most expensive items sold at auction. Additionally, many popular models possess multi-year waiting lists at the retail market.
Although the production process ceased for only 10days, it won't help in increasing the supply in any way.
Moreover, the Baselworld of this year has been postponed, and it will possibly be held in January 2021.
Thus, Rolex collectors and aficionados were wondering whether the brand will produce any new model this year.
Now, while all the three Rolex factories are temporarily closed, we can't yet predict anything clearly regarding the launch of new 2020 models.
Let's look forward to more details in the upcoming days.
Related: The History of Rolex in the Development of Wristwatches