Since the onset of the Russian war against Ukraine, many countries and companies have halted exports or altogether boycotted Russia from all future business. This corporate exodus has pushed Russian inflation to a 24-year high, sending the value of the rouble tumbling. Global brands like Apple, McDonald’s, Netlfix, Ford are a few of the many who have stood up against Russia and its war against Ukraine.
Similarly, many Swiss watch brands have also joined the boycott. According to a report by WatchPro, Patek Philippe and Rolex have suspended all exports to Russia. Brands like Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille have “temporarily closed” their Moscow boutiques.
Another report at WatchPro also confirmed the halt in watch deliveries by Breitling. Its Chief Executive, Georges Kern, was also seen protesting with 25,000 protestors in Zürich, campaigning against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Kern had shared a video of the peace march with the words, “Yesterday in Zürich — with another 25,000 people — for freedom, peace and democracy in Ukraine.” The big watch groups like LVMH, Swatch Group, and Richemont have also joined in on the boycott and announced Russia’s suspension of operations and exports.
In a report filed by Guardian, citing Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, millions of dollars worth of Audemars Piguet watches in Moscow was seized by Russian agents belonging to the FSB security service. The move was apparently conducted in retaliation to the imposed sanctions banning the export of luxury goods to Russia placed by Switzerland. Denying the claim are the Russian authorities, who have reportedly cited issues with customs as the reason for the seizure of the watches.
According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Russia accounted for 260m Swiss Francs worth of exports and was the 17th largest export market for Swiss watches in 2021.
Image Courtesy: Audemars Piguet & Breitling