VENDOME LUXURY GROUP BUYS VACHERON CONSTANTIN WATCHES
LONDON — The Vendome Luxury Group said Thursday it has added to its luxe watch brands with the acquisition of Vacheron Constantin.
Vacheron Constantin was founded in 1755 in Geneva by Francois Constantin and is the oldest watch manufacturer in the world. It had been majority owned by Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani since 1987.
Vendome provided no financial details of the purchase or the acquired company.
Joseph Kanoui, Vendome’s chairman, said Vacheron Constantin will continue to operate as a separate brand within the group, as do Vendome’s other subsidiaries. Claude-Daniel Proellochs, Vacheron Constantin’s managing director, and other members of the management will remain with the company, Vendome said.
Vacheron Constantin’s main collection is the Phidias line, but others include Les Historiques, Les Absolues, Les Essentielles, Les Complications and, most recently, the Overseas line of sport watches.
In the watch category, Vendome already owns Cartier, Baume & Mercier, Piaget and Alfred Dunhill, and its gold and jewelry watch sales rose 18.4 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, to about $255.6 million (335 million Swiss francs).
The growth was fueled by the launch of the new Tank Francaise watch at Cartier, new products at Baume & Mercier and higher profits at Piaget.
Overall sales of Vendome in the first half came to $1.02 billion (1.34 billion Swiss francs), a rise of 3.3 percent, while net earnings fell 2.7 percent to $122.3 million (160.3 million Swiss francs).
In addition to its watch and jewelry businesses, Vendome owns Chloe, Karl Lagerfeld, Montblanc, men’s wear firms Sulka and Hackett, gun firm James Purdy & Sons and Seeger leather goods.