The Swatch Group has added another jewel — or, more precisely, jeweler — to its crown. The Bienne, Switzerland-based company, which owns watch brands ranging from Swatch to Hamilton to Omega to Breguet, announced Monday that it is acquiring world-renowned jewelry brand Harry Winston, which in recent years has also become a bastion of high watchmaking.
In the deal, Swatch Group Ltd. gets 100 percent of the shares of HW Holdings Inc., owner of New York-based Harry Winston, Inc., giving the Group ownership of the brand and all activities related to its jewelry and watches, including its 535 employees worldwide and production company in Geneva, Switzerland. The acquisition sum amounts to U.S. $750 million plus the assumption of up to U.S. $250 million of pro forma net debt. The sale does not include the mining segment of the company, Harry Winston Diamond Corporation, based in Toronto, which will be renamed Dominion Diamond Corporation upon the closing of the transaction.
“The Harry Winston brand now has a new home that can provide the skills and support that it deserves to realize its true potential, ” said Robert A. Gannicott, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Harry Winston Diamond Corporation.
Harry Winston — which has become known to watch enthusiasts and collectors chiefly through its haute horlogerie Opus collection — will join the Swatch Group’s portfolio of “prestige” brands, which currently includes Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original and Jaquet Droz. Nayla Hayek, chairwoman of The Swatch Group Ltd., says, “We are proud and happy to welcome Harry Winston to the Swatch Group family,” adding, “Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend.”