Even in the exceedingly turbulent times that the watch industry has been enduring for nearly two years, it is rare news to see major brands exchange hands —— and that is why today is a notable day, as it has just been announced that the reliable Breitling replica watches have been sold to CVC Capital Partners for more than 800 million euros ——- that is about 873 million US dollars or 866 million Swiss francs.
Until this moment, Breitling fake watches with Swiss mechanical movements had been one of only a handful of properly independent major brands out there ——- Chopard and Patek Philippe remain two other family-owned big players in the industry, with every other mammoth brand either owned by one of the big four groups (Swatch Group, LVMH, Richemont, and Kering) or some other major entity, like Rolex and Tudor with the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. The last big news of this nature was when family-owned Frederique Constant, Alpina, and Atelier de Monaco were purchased by Citizen Watch Co. last year.
Nevertheless, previous majority owner Theodore Schneider will remain with Breitling because, as part of the CVC Capital Partners deal, he agreed to re-invest for a 20% stake in Breitling. Ironically, it was as recently as May last year that Breitling vice-president Jean-Paul Girardin told Reuters he was confident in Breitling retaining its independence despite speculation about its future following the 2015 passing of Ernest Schneider who bought the brand in 1979.
Still, soon after that interview, Bloomberg (the breaker of today’s news) had reported in late November last year that the solid Breitling copy watches were “on the block” for sale, after having been in the hands of the Schneider family since 1979. Breitling has very much been a family-run company in the sense that Ernest Schneider had been running it from the late ’70s until the early ’90s when his son, Théodore Schneider took over. While Théodore is the (exceedingly rarer) type of the quiet watch CEO who stays out of the limelight, he’s said to be very much taking part in running the business.
Late last year, when the speculation regarding Breitling’s sale sprung, analysts expected the manufacture that employs some 900 people and produces around 150,000 watches annually to fetch between 600 and 900 million Swiss francs (CHF). As of today, we know that Breitling has been acquired for over CHF866 million ——- with Breitling’s annual sales of about CHF420 million, this might give the company the financial stability it needed to make it through these troubling times and, hopefully, come out stronger once it’s over.