Time is Money: The 26 Richest Swiss Watch Barons

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek Jr.Each year the respected Swiss business magazine, Bilan, publishes a list of the 300 richest Swiss with a rough estimate of their fortunes. For this article in WatchTime’s November-December issue, on sale now, we examined the 2013 list to see which members of the watch industry made the ranking. Here they are:

LANDOLT FAMILY
SF6 – 7 billion
Members of the Landolt family own the Sandoz Family Foundation and are heirs to the fortune of Sandoz, the pharmaceutical giant now known as Novartis. The foundation is the majority shareholder in Parmigiani Fleurier and the manufacturing group MHF (Manufactures Horlogères de la Fondation), which includes Manufacture Vaucher.

WERTHEIMER FAMILY
SF6 – 7 billion
Brothers Gérard and Alain Wertheimer own Chanel SA and also have an investment in Bell & Ross.

HAYEK FAMILY
SF4 – 5 billion
The Hayeks own the single largest block of Swatch Group shares. Nick Hayek Jr. is CEO of the group; sister Nayla is the chairwoman of the board of directors and CEO of Harry Winston; and Nayla’s son, Marc, is CEO of Blancpain, Breguet, and Jaquet Droz. (Click here for an interview with Nick Hayek, Jr., conducted by our Watch Insider, Alexander Linz.)

Nick Hayek Jr., Nayla Hayek, Marc Hayek

Nick Hayek Jr., Nayla Hayek, Marc Hayek

JOHANN RUPERT
SF4 – 5 billion
Rupert is executive chairman of Richemont and is currently on a one-year sabbatical. The Richemont Group is the second largest luxury goods company in the world, after LVMH.

Johann Rupert

Johann Rupert

MOUAWAD FAMILY
SF2 – 3 billion
The Mouawads own a chain of European jewelry stores. Brothers Fred and Pascal operate the jewelry business, while Alain runs the Mouawad Watch Division and Manufacture Mouawad SA. Alain founded the watch company Blacksand Genève in 2011.

PHILIPPE STERN
SF2 – 3 billion
Stern, the chairman of Patek Philippe, is the third generation of his family to run the brand. His son Thierry is the current president. (Click here for a profile of the Sterns by WatchTime editor-in-chief Joe Thompson.)

Philippe Stern

Philippe Stern

ESTHER GRETHER
SF1.5 – 2 billion
Grether is the second largest shareholder of the Swatch Group after the Hayeks. Her shares, valued at more than SF800 million at the end of 2012, amount to 7.2 percent of the group, according to Bilan. Grether’s main business ventures are in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

SCHEUFELE FAMILY
SF1.5 – 2 billion
The Scheufele family owns Chopard. Siblings Karl-Friedrich and Caroline are co-presidents of the brand. (Click here to watch a video interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele conducted at Baselworld 2012.)

Caroline Scheufele

Caroline Scheufele

 

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About Jay Deshpande

Jay Deshpande is the associate editor of WatchTime, reporting on industry news, notable collectors and horological history for the print and tablet editions. He has previously written for Boston Review, Publishers Weekly, Harvard Book Review and All About Jazz, among others. Jay's recent articles include features on the Smithsonian's watch collection and Winston Churchill.

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