Swatch fire hits shares and alarms Swiss rivals

A fire in a workshop owned by Swatch sent shares in the world’s largest watchmaker sharply down yesterday and prompted fears about the knock-on impact on the broader Swiss timepiece sector.

The blaze broke out in Swatch’s unit at Grenchen in the Swiss canton of Solothurn. The company said it is fully insured, but Swatch’s stock nevertheless dropped 2.2 per cent in trading before recovering to end down 0.76 per cent at 589 Swiss Francs (£4.02).

The Swatch workshop, which was destroyed, made standard movements — the components that drive the moving parts of a watch. They are mainly sold to other firms, such as Richemont and LVMH, rather than being used in Swatch’s own products. LVMH owns the Tag Heuer, Hublot and Zenith brands.

It’s very serious, said Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich, told Bloomberg. It may have an impact on the whole Swiss watch industry as Swatch is the biggest supplier of movements — via

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