Richemont and Polo Ralph Lauren form partnership

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Richemont agreed to form a joint venture to design, develop, manufacture, and distribute products through Ralph Lauren boutiques and through the independent jewelry and luxury watch retailers around the world.

As part of the agreement, Polo Ralph Lauren created a new division, The Polo Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery Company, S.A.R.L., which will design and create luxury watches and fine jewelry

The companies, in a joint statement, said they will each own 50 percent of the new entity and are committed to this joint venture on a long-term basis. This is luxury brands retailer Richemont’s first such joint venture with a luxury fashion designer and it is Polo Ralph Lauren’s first foray into the precious jewelry and luxury watch businesses. New products are expected to be launched in the fall of 2008.

“This business is an important part of our global luxury accessories strategy,” said Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. “I am confident that our unique design sensibility and luxury brand building skills, combined with Richemont’s unique experience on a global basis, creates an opportune way for this partnership to succeed.”

“Jointly, we aim to create a new luxury business, which I am confident will develop into a world leader,” added Johann Rupert, executive chairman of Richemont. “This is an exciting partnership and I very much look forward to working with Ralph.”