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Brand Profiles

Swatch assessing damage following factory fire

By Michelle Graff

December 30, 2013

Grenchen, Switzerland--A spokeswoman for the Swatch Group said the company is still trying to determine how a fire that destroyed a unit within its ETA factory on Sunday will impact production.

According to Swatch Group, the fire broke out around 8:45 a.m. local time in the galvanic department, located in the main building of the ETA manufacturing facility in Grenchen.

While the factory never completely closes, Swatch Group spokeswoman Béatrice Howald said there was no activity in this area at the time of the fire, so no workers were injured.

ETA firefighters and two firefighters from the Grenchen fire department battled the blaze, and managed to get it under control by 9:30 a.m. before it could spread to neighboring manufacturing facilities.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and Howald said Swatch Group is continuing to assess how the fire, which did “considerable” damage, will impact production.

ETA is the arm of the Swatch Group that makes the movements and watch components for both mechanical and quartz watches, supplying its own brands, such as Blancpain and Longines, as well as a number of other companies.

Howald said almost all components’ surfaces are treated and undergo the galvanic process, which means that the production of “many brands” will be impacted by the blaze.