Mounir Moufarrige Invests in Jeweler Christina Debs

The president of luxury watch firm U-Boat has taken a minority stake in the fine jewelry line.

PARIS — Mounir Moufarrige, president of luxury watch firm U-Boat, has taken a minority stake in the fine jewelry line of Franco-Lebanese designer Christina Debs, with a view to growing it internationally.

This story first appeared in the January 31, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Moufarrige, a luxury executive famous for reviving Montblanc and hiring Stella McCartney at Chloé, said he had been looking to get into the jewelry segment for some time. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“There’s been a lot of interest [in the category] with big groups buying Harry Winston, Bulgari. Tiffany might be the next one. So I think the market is expanding and it’s going to expand more in branded products rather than unbranded products, with an eye on China, of course,” he explained.

Launched in 2008, Christina Debs specializes in pieces inspired by mythological figures such as the Phoenician princess Europa. Its Hard Candy collection, for instance, features rings, earrings and pendants with rose-cut gemstones in 42 colors, which can be personalized with a diamond-studded initial.

“We try really to do collections inspired by my roots,” said the designer, noting that her Skin Tattoo collection of fine interchangeable diamond rings was similarly inspired by Asian culture.

Debs studied diamond grading and was trained in jewelry design at the AFEDAP, the École de la rue du Louvre and the École Boulle in Paris. She has a stand-alone store in Beirut with its own production workshop, and her collection is carried at Galerie BSL in Paris and Roseark in Los Angeles.

The line will be presented to buyers at the Tranoï trade show in Paris from Feb. 28 to March 3 with a view to launching the brand in department stores and multibrand retailers, Moufarrige said. With an average price of $2,500, it aims to sit alongside Tiffany & Co. and Messika, he added.

“I think at this price, there’s a market that’s going to grow even further, because there is some saturation at the much higher level,” he said.