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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Swiss watchmaker Bucherer acquires US rival Tourneau

This is the second acquisition for the Swiss firm in less than a year as it seeks to grow its international footprint

The Manero Tourbillon limited edition 2015. Bucherer is expanding its international footprint. Courtesy Carl F Bucherer
The Manero Tourbillon limited edition 2015. Bucherer is expanding its international footprint. Courtesy Carl F Bucherer

Bucherer, one of the top watch and jewellery retailers in Europe has acquired American rival Tourneau as the Swiss company expands its footprint after buying UK retailer The Watch Gallery last year.

Bucherer did not disclose the value of the deal. Tourneau was bought from a group led by Green Equity Investors IV, an affiliate of US-based private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners.

New York-based Tourneau, which was set up in 1900, has 28 retail locations across 10 US states and an e-commerce website. Lucerne-based Bucherer, which has been making watches since 1888, is present in 33 locations in Europe, including 16 in Switzerland and 10 in Germany.

“With this acquisition, we will immediately introduce the Bucherer brand to millions of potential customers in one of the most important global watch and jewellery markets,” said Guido Zumbuhl, chief executive of the Bucherer Group. “This is also a great opportunity to firmly establish the Carl F Bucherer brand in the US and introduce Bucherer Fine Jewellery into the North American market.”

Swiss watchmakers are recovering from a slump in the market that was affected by lower sales to Asia, their most important market, and a strong Swiss franc. In the second quarter of 2017, watch exports rose 3 per cent year-on-year to 5 billion francs (Dh19.68bn), following 20 consecutive months of declines, according to a report by advisory Deloitte. Growth picked up particularly in the European market, where exports rose by 9 per cent in the second quarter of 2017.

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The US market, the second-most important market for Swiss watchmakers, is expected to grow further, according to the Deloitte report.

“Bucherer is a dream partner for Tourneau,” said Ira Melnitsky, chief executive of Tourneau. “A Swiss company with 130 years of history in the industry, Bucherer understands fine watches like few others, making them the ideal partner for Tourneau. “

Watchmakers have been on the lookout for acquisitions, buying Swiss firms as they seek to expand in the luxury segment.

Japan’s Citizen Watch Company bought in 2016 Frederique Constant Holding after acquiring Switzerland’s Prothor Holdings in 2012.

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