Rolex Shut Down a Swiss Factory During the Coronavirus Pandemic

There is major news out of Geneva tonight: Rolex will close its production facilities in Geneva, Bienne and Cressier for 10 days, effective 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. Rolex CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour outlined the company’s plans in a letter to employees today. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen, businesses in many industries around the world are temporarily shutting down and encouraging employees to work from home whenever possible.
Coronavirus continues to spread in many parts of the world, with Europe being among the most impacted. Just today, the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported: “The Federal Council decided on Monday to tighten the measures to protect the population in view of the accelerated spread of the coronavirus…All shops, restaurants, entertainment, and leisure facilities will be closed until April 19, 2020.” As of March 15, the number of cases in Switzerland had risen to 2,330, according to NZZ; Eighteen people have died. Several Swiss cantons, including Geneva, declared a state of emergency on Monday.
As I said last week, we are facing a very serious situation. In order to protect you, your families and your loved ones, and to limit the risk of coronavirus transmission as much as possible, we have decided to close our manufacturing facilities in Geneva, Bienne and Crissier from March 17 at 5:00 PM through Friday, March 27, 2020. Of course, depending on the epidemic, that date could be pushed back.
Some services must remain open to the necessary business functions. Your manager will give you more details on this issue.
From now on, we demand that you strictly comply with the detention measures we have promulgated by the Swiss and French authorities.
I am convinced that this is just a difficult period, and that if we act well together, we will contribute to and participate in a stable situation, which will allow us to return to work as soon as possible with complete security.
Thank you for respecting your manager’s instructions so as to complete the transaction under favorable conditions.
Best of luck for the days to come, take care of yourselves!
Though the F1 season has been delayed by coronavirus problems, the watch world is moving forward – Bell & Ross have announced the latest addition to the R.S.20 collection as part of their partnership with Renault’s F1 Racing team ,with this being the fifth iteration of a watch from that partnership, What we see here is a 43 mm stainless steel racing timepiece.
The brand is known for designing watches with a special historical affinity and retro charm, but you won’t find them here. Instead, what you have is a genuine partnership that produces an aggressive modern design. However, if you look closely, you may only notice a few retro details interspersed with them.
From the point of view of the partnership between the watch and the car, there is a particularly harmonious design, from the choice of color to the layout of the numerals on the dial.
Of course, this is not the first collaboration between timepiece and auto-racing, and it certainly won’t be the last. Chopin Mille Miglia and Rolex Daytona certainly thought of it, but Bell & Ross abandoned many of the traditional design cues to create the series.
While some watches require a degree of exposition to explain the relationship between the product and the partnership, here we find these ideas to be self-evident. The watch has so much in common with the design language of the Renault racing team that it belongs almost entirely to an F1 car.
Of course, this is ironic. This particular watch is in the Bell & Ross “Vintage” collection. I know what you’re thinking: how can a watch with such a unique modern design exist under such a banner? We’ll get to that.
The BRV3 series consists entirely of 43 mm chronographs. Unlike the other V3 models, the watch has two sub-dials instead of three: a 30-minute timer at 9 o ‘clock and a small seconds counter at 3 o ‘clock. This is the caliber BR-CAL. The 301 is a Bell & Ross naming convention for the ETA calibre 2984-2. The same movement can be found in the Bell & Ross BR V2 94 Racing Chronograph reviewed here.
From a design point of view, the R.S.20 is relatively modest in its approach. Earlier R.S. models introduced yellow, orange, red, and green accents on the dial. Here we have a more conservative approach; Bell & Ross have decided to use only yellow.
I can’t say I disagree with the choice. It gives the watch a greater sense of identity, confidence and purpose. Without the previous model, we might never have gotten this one, so in this case, the watch is more mature than the previous model.
The watch has a bi-directional bezel and a countdown timer, while the tachometer scale is located in the case along the ribbon ring. Like other models in the range, the date window is almost hidden between 4 and 5 o’clock markers.
So there we have it: a large 43 mm case, a modern design, a touch of yellow. But vintage?
At this point, Bell & Ross refer to the crystal on the watch as “curved,” which probably means that the crystal on the watch is the same as that on other watches they’ve released in the past. It also shows that the dial is matte if there is no texture. Unlike its predecessor, the R.S.20 changed three lines of text with the dial at 6 o’clock: “auto/chronograph/100 meters.”
Each of these elements contrasts with the retro aesthetic in a public modern watch. Although they are not vintage in themselves, they evoke memories of vintage wines. Sure, it’s a delicate balance, but if worn on the wrist, it could prove to be enjoyable.