Richemont-owned Cartier and LVMH-owned TAG Heuer are both thought to be scaling back watch production and reducing the hours of employees at their respective Swiss manufactures.
Jean-Claude Biver, head of LVMH’s watches and jewellery division, told French business publication L’Agefi that industry growth in August of 2.7% had been considerably less than the 4-6% predicted.
He explained that TAG Heuer will cut 46 jobs in management and production as well as putting 49 employees on ‘partial unemployment’ explaining the company was “trying to rationalize the organization of each department in order to gain agility, simplicity and better communication,”. The business is thought to employ around 1,600 people.
Biver also announced in the interview that TAG Heuer would introduce more products in the 1,500-5,500 CHF (£1,000-£3,500) price bracket to gain market share at that price point. He pointed out that he didn’t believe too many jobs would be lost in the Swiss industry, adding that strongly performing LVMH-stablemate Hublot may be creating new positions as it has enjoyed double digit growth at the end of the August.
At the same time Cartier announced a shortened working week for 230 employees at its Villars-sur-Glane production facilities in Switzerland introducing two-day weeks as of November 1. Earlier this month Richemont’s AGM revealed that sales of Cartier timepieces had suffered ‘from weak demand and destocking’.
Cartier last reduced working hours for its staff in 2009 as the financial crisis took hold, all staff returned to full-time employment in a matter of months.