Private London investors, CVC Capital Partners, last week bought an 80% controlling share for an undisclosed account in luxury Swiss watchmaker Breitling, which in the past has been owned by only 2 families in its 133- year history.
Breitling’s chief executive, Théodore Schneider and the son of Ernest Schneider, who bought
the company from the Breitling family in 1979, will hold the remaining 20 per cent of the group. The deal values Breitling at between SFr800m ($801m) and SFr900m $901m).
Founded in 1884, Breitling specialises in producing chronometer watches, meaning they are judged to be highly accurate. Models typically sell for between £2,000 and £19,000, although the most expensive watch it ever made, the Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon, costs about £250,000. The Grenchen-headquartered company has about 900 employees and two manufacturing sites in Switzerland.
"I am convinced CVC is the right partner to elevate Breitling to the next level," said Théodore Schneider, majority owner of Breitling SA. "CVC's expertise, track-record and international network will help unlock Breitling’s full potential."
Alexander Dibelius, Managing Partner and Head of Germany at CVC, commented: "Breitling has a proud heritage, high brand awareness, and enjoys an excellent reputation as one of the finest watchmakers in the world. We very much look forward to working with Théodore Schneider as we embark on Breitling's next chapter of growth."
"Using our network and expertise, CVC will work to make this global, iconic brand even more renowned and help shape the future of one of Switzerland's last independent watch manufacturers," added Daniel Pindur, Senior Managing Director at CVC. "Specifically, we see significant growth potential for Breitling in both existing and new geographies by driving the digitization of the marketing and distribution channels in the company, helping to enrich the product and customer experience."