PARIS — It’s getting ugly at Franck Muller, the Swiss luxury timepiece and jewelry firm.

This story first appeared in the November 20, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Following an acrimonious falling out this fall between Muller, the firm’s namesake, and his business partner, Vartan Sirmakes, it has emerged that the two men are preparing to face off in court over their differences.

According to Swiss press reports, confirmed by the company, Muller has filed a lawsuit against Sirmakes in Geneva’s commercial court seeking the dissolution of the firm as well as damages. Further details of the claim could not immediately be learned.

The two men co-founded the brand in 1991. Muller was the creative part of the partnership and officially exited the company last month. At that time, Sirmakes said he would lead the group.

Sirmakes has fired back with a defamation complaint, the company said.

Muller could not be reached for comment. But in a statement, the firm bearing his name said two former employees, including Muller’s uncle, Salvatore Ferrarotto, had been arrested regarding an alleged counterfeiting scheme. Ferrarotto, formerly in charge of watch production at Franck Muller, is said to still be in custody, according to the statement.

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