Fossil Completes Acquisition of Three Swiss Watch Companies

Fossil Inc., the popular fashion watch brand sold in 80 countries, on Nov. 12 completed acquisition of three watch companies in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. JCK first reported on the planned acquisition of the three, plus the mid-priced Zodiac watch brand, on Oct. 16 in its story on Fossil’s entry into the Swiss watch market.
The combined purchase price of the three Swiss companies and the Zodiac brands totals approximately $7 million, says Fossil. According to the company, the acquisitions are the “first phase” of it Swiss strategy.
The three companies ae Montres Antima SA (“Antima”), Meliga Habillement Horloger SA (“Meliga”), and Synergies Horlogeres SA (“Synergies”). Fossil officials say they will provide the design, sourcing, and production capabilities necessary to manufacture and market the Swiss-made watches, including Zodiac.
Antima, established in 1919, designs, sources, and assembles Swiss-made watches under both owned and private-label brands. Meliga is a component-sourcing group offering watchbands, cases, and other watch components to various well-known Swiss-made watch manufacturers. Synergies designs and develops watch prototypes for various companies worldwide.
Fossil’s Swiss watch manufacturing operations will operate separately from its core Fossil brand business, say officials.
“With the acquisition of these three companies, new windows of opportunity are opening for our company,” says Enrico Margaritelli, Fossil’s vice president of marketing and strategic direction. “The synergies created by combining the design and technical expertise these companies provide us-along with our existing worldwide infrastructure, systems, and financing-should be immense.”
The Zodiac brand, under Fossil, will target luxury and jewelry store channels and continue to retail in the mid-$200 to $750 price range. Changes in product and a new direction in marketing will be unveiled at the international watch and jewelry show in Basel, Switzerland, April 4-11, 2002. Zodiac was formerly owned by Genender International Inc. (GII), based in Wheeling, Ill.
Fossil Inc., headquartered in Richardson, Texas, is best known for its contemporary and fashion Fossil watches-including its new line of Philippe Starck timepieces. Founded in 1984, the company targets what it calls “value-driven consumers.” Today, it produces more than 300 watch styles under the Fossil and Relic brand names, and has added other fashionable accessory items such as small leather goods (wallets, handbags, belts, key chains, and backpacks) and eyewear (uniquely designed sunglasses). Fossil brand products can be found in department stores, upscale retailers, and in the company’s own retail stores and outlets in more than 80 countries worldwide.