PARIS — Consolidation continues in Switzerland’s high-end watch industry.
This story first appeared in the June 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
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.