NEW YORK — Swatch Group Ltd. has acquired German luxury watch manufacturer Glashutter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH from Aureus Private Equity Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.
Swatch said the company will continue to operate from its current headquarters in the German city of Glashutte, near Dresden, and Heinz Pfefer will retain his duties as general manager of Glashutter.
The transaction will help Swatch increase its market share in the luxury segment as well as help Glashutter increase its worldwide presence.
Swatch, based in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland, said it intends to maintain the position of the Glashutter Original watch as the exclusive timepiece for the “aficionados of luxury watches made in Germany” and does not intend to make it a mass product.
Glashutter will be integrated into the 16 watch brands of the Swatch Group. Specifically, it will enhance Swatch’s existing luxury segment, now composed of Breguet, Blancpain, Leon Hatot jewelry watches, Jaquet-Droz, Omega, Longines, Rado and Swatch.
The average retail price of a Glashutter Original, the company’s mechanical branded watch, is $4,000. Its latest model, the PanoRetroGraph, a chronograph with multiple functions, costs $40,000, according to a Swatch spokesperson.
Although exact sales figures for Glashutter were not available, the company said Glashutter produces less than 10,000 units a year.
“Glashutter enhances (Swatch’s) luxury segment,” said a Swatch Group spokesperson. “Glashutter is a sophisticated watch brand which will find more fans in other countries.” Glashutter is sold in the U.S., but with limited distribution.
Glashutter was founded in 1845 by Ferdinand A. Lange, one of a handful of master watchmakers who emerged from the German town during that period.