PARIS — Consolidation continues in Switzerland’s high-end watch industry.
Blancpain SA, which is owned by Swatch Group Ltd., said on Monday it had acquired Vica Sarl and its Vincent Calabrese brand for an undisclosed sum.
Named after its owner and founder, Vincent Calabrese is a master watchmaker known for his technical expertise. He developed a tourbillon for Blancpain years ago when the brand still was owned by Jacques Piguet.
Calabrese will join the team of watchmakers at Blancpain. His production facilities and patents will be transferred to Blancpain, and he will become a member of Blancpain’s management board.
“[The deal] will allow [Calabrese] to focus exclusively on research and the realization of unique projects for Blancpain,” the company said.
In the highly competitive high-end complicated watch market, which has been driving sales recently, the acquisition is something of a coup for Blancpain. It may also signal consolidation among smaller artisan horological masters as larger groups’ look to shore up talent. Europe’s key luxury groups have shown an appetite for high-end watch acquisitions this year. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought Hublot, and PPR just purchased a stake in the company that runs the Girard-Perregaux and Jean Richard brands.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
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