The downturn in the Swiss watch industry has lead to a rather interesting situation. Swatch Group SA have announced that the Swiss Competition Commission Weko are reviewing at whether there’s room to manoeuvre within the 2013 agreement made between the Commission and the Swatch Group to phase out the provision of mechanical watch movements by Group subsidiary ETA SA.
Since the Group’s deal with Weko in 2013, watch brands have been either building up their own movement production capacities, or sought alternate routes. However, the decrease in demand worldwide in the luxury watch segment has meant a glut of mechanical movements, which the Swatch Group now wishes to sell.
If Weko agree to this then with there will no doubt be concern by the smaller movement makers who have been building up their own production capacities under the assumption that ETA would cease deliveries by 2019.
The most recent FH update for 2016 reported that the downturn in Swiss watch exports continued in May, with their value dropping 9.7% compared to last year to stand at 1.6 billion francs, with falls in all price segments.