• Cartier to axe around 70 positions; talks not yet finalized
  • Richemont to offer early retirement, job transfers to others

Richemont will probably eliminate about 100 jobs at its Swiss watchmaking operations, limiting the originally announced job cuts of as many as 350 positions as it approaches an agreement with employee representatives, according to the Unia trade union.

Cartier, Richemont’s largest brand, will cut some 70 positions, Unia representative Pierluigi Fedele said by phone. Talks are to be finalized at the end of the month, he said. Other brands affected are Vacheron Constantin and Piaget. A Richemont representative declined to comment.

Richemont, which has about 6,000 employees in watchmaking, said in February that it might eliminate as many as 350 positions and a month later said it’s trying to lower that number.

The company, whose full name is Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, isn’t the only one to face cuts. Smaller watchmakers like Parmigiani Fleurier, Ulysse Nardin and De Grisogono cut positions last year. Swiss watch exports dropped 8.9 percent in the first quarter, the biggest drop since 2009 as the industry faces declining demand across all its main markets.

Aside from the 100 job cuts, other Richemont workers will be offered early retirement, job transfers and voluntary departures, Fedele said.

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