ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss watchmaker Maurice de Mauriac is confident it can find a new supplier for watch mechanisms to maintain production as it battles an industry-wide drop in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key supplier Swatch Group UHR.S has halted deliveries of mechanisms to the small Zurich-based brand, its managers said, after Switzerland's competition authority released Swatch from an obligation to supply other watchmakers this summer.
The entire Swiss industry has also seen sales plummet as stores were closed by coronavirus lockdowns and Chinese customers, who often buy watches on their travels, have stayed at home.
Still, Maurice de Mauriac, a niche producer which makes about 300 watches per year, has so far got round the supply problems.
The company has been using the tiny mechanisms called “movements” it still had in stock and is confident it can get more from a partner still on the customer list of Swatch’s mechanism business, ETA.
“We have long-term relationships with our suppliers,” said Massimo Dreifuss who, together with his brother Leonard, now manages the company their father Daniel founded in 1997.
Massimo and Leonard have also been organising events to drum up interest in Maurice de Mauriac watches, which cost around 3,500 Swiss francs ($3,850) on average.
They are offering workshops for small groups at the brand’s headquarters in central Zurich where enthusiasts can see the brand’s three watchmakers working and have a go at assembling a watch themselves.
Watch retailers from Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse shopping street also regularly send customers to pick a watch strap from the brand’s stock of around 2,500 leather, rubber, textile and metal bands, including some proprietary designs.
Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Mark Potter
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