Swiss watch brands join the boycott of Russia
Since the start of the Russian war against Ukraine, many countries and companies have halted their exports or completely boycotted Russia from all future activities. This corporate exodus has pushed Russian inflation to its highest level in 24 years, driving down the value of the rouble. Global brands like Apple, McDonald’s, Netlfix, Ford are just some of the many who have spoken out against Russia and its war on Ukraine.
Likewise, many Swiss watch brands have also joined the boycott. According to a WatchPro report, Patek Philippe and Rolex have suspended all exports to Russia. Brands like Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille have “temporarily closed” their Moscow stores.
Another WatchPro report also confirmed Breitling’s halt in watch shipments. Its chief executive, Georges Kern, was also seen demonstrating with 25,000 protesters in Zurich, campaigning against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Kern had shared a video of the peace march with the words: “Yesterday in Zurich – with 25,000 others – for freedom, peace and democracy in Ukraine”. Major watch groups like LVMH, Swatch Group and Richemont also joined the boycott and announced the suspension of operations and exports from Russia.
In a report filed by Guardianquoting a Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, millions of dollars worth of Audemars Piguet watches in Moscow were seized by Russian agents belonging to the FSB security service. This decision was apparently taken in retaliation for sanctions imposed by Switzerland banning the export of luxury goods to Russia. Russian authorities have denied the allegation, citing problems with customs as the reason for the seizure of the watches.
According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Russia accounted for 260 million Swiss francs in exports and was the 17th largest export market for Swiss watches in 2021.
Image Courtesy: Audemars Piguet & Breitling