New Watch Company Is Formed

Swiss Army Brands Inc. and Victorinox AG have formed a new international watch company—Victorinox Swiss Army Watch AG. Victorinox is the majority shareholder of Swiss Army Brands.

Victorinox and Swiss Army Brands have had “a strong and longstanding business relationship” since 1937, says Sue Rechner, president of the new company and senior vice president in the United States of Swiss Army Brands Inc. But both brands had been sold separately outside the United States for years, duplicating sales and marketing efforts.

“This merger is a natural combination of two watch brands with similar attributes and complementary business strategies,” says Rechner. “Their individual strengths will be combined to form a strong company poised for international growth.”

The merger doesn’t affect operations or marketing of Swiss Army Brand watches in the United States, where the brand was successfully relaunched this year. Outside the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, however, the new firm will market and distribute a single unified brand called Victorinox/Swiss Army Watches. It will debut in Italy in October, with other rollouts occurring thereafter in international markets where one or both companies do business.

Swiss Army Brands and Victorinox each will contribute to the new company an equivalent amount of cash, inventory, and their entire watch businesses outside the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Distribution and logistics will be handled at Victorinox in Ibach, Switzerland. Sales, marketing, and product design and development will be handled in Bienne, Switzerland, headquarters of Swiss Army Brands Schweiz AG, parent company of Swiss Army Brands. The transaction was slated to be completed by this month.

In a related story, Swiss Army Brands planned to open its first flagship store, in New York City, in September. The store will showcase Swiss Army and Victorinox products, including Swiss Army Watch, Victorinox Original Swiss Army Knives, Victorinox Travel Gear, and the new Victorinox Apparel collection launched in August. The new 3,500-sq.-ft. store is located at 136 Prince St. in SoHo.