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Moschino Licenses Sector for Watches

MILAN — Moschino SpA has signed a five-year licensing agreement with Sector Group SpA to produce and distribute a watch line.<br><br>The first collection, slated to bow next spring, will be presented at the Basel Watch Fair in March.<br><br>"This...

MILAN — Moschino SpA has signed a five-year licensing agreement with Sector Group SpA to produce and distribute a watch line.

The first collection, slated to bow next spring, will be presented at the Basel Watch Fair in March.

“This [accord] is an important tassel in our brand offerings and we believe that our creative whim, along with Sector’s know-how, will allow for a solid base on which to build a successful watch line,” said Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer of Moschino.

A gloomy luxury watch business is no cause for concern for Gobbetti. On the contrary, he views designer timepieces as an accessories category bound to become as profitable as branded sunglasses.

“Today, it’s not a question of having either a Rolex or a Swatch, because there’s a growing segment in between that gives more space to trends and designer brand identity,” Gobbetti said.

As much as he added that it’s premature to disclose details, Gobbetti conceded that Moschino’s in-house team is working on the sketches for two distinct lines: A more expensive one that reflects the signature line and a younger, lower-priced one in sync with the carefree spirit of Cheap and Chic, the company’s diffusion line. Both collections, however, will be injected with a good dose of humor, he said.

Retail watch sales are projected at $150 million by 2008 with an investment of $10 million in communications over the same five-year period.

Founded in 1983, Moschino generates annual sales of $285 million and is now controlled by Aeffe, which acquired a 70 percent stake. Moschino has 24 boutiques plus 31 in-store shops worldwide.

Bulgari’s private investment fund, Opera, has a stake in Sector Group, which holds a 14 percent market share in Italy. The watchmaker has 50 distributors throughout the world, 150 employees and posted sales of $90 million in 2001. It’s best known for its Sector, Lucien Rochat and Philip Watch brands, and is also the licensee for Roberto Cavalli timepieces.

This story first appeared in the July 29, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.