Bulova takes back European distribution; Plans new Swiss line

The Bulova Corp., one of America’s best-known watch firms, is taking back distribution of its products in Europe, ending an 11-year licensing agreement with the EganaGoldpfeil Group.

The change is in line with Bulova’s decision to establish proprietary operations in Europe, with headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland, as part of its global expansion program.

“The strength of our brand in the Americas has grown to the point where it is strategically necessary to maintain a uniform worldwide image,” explained Herbert C. Hofmann, Bulova president and chief executive officer.

Bulova will begin distribution of its brand name products in Europe on Jan. 1, 2003.

As part of its emphasis on global growth, Bulova also plans to:

* Sharpen worldwide brand awareness with a new collection of Swiss watches (in stainless steel, 18k gold and other fine metals) designed specifically for the international market,

* Establish its own sales force in some countries, and

* Seek arrangement with established distributors in other countries.

Product development for all countries will be done at Bulova’s headquarters in New York City or at its Fribourg, Switzerland, location.

Both Bulova and EganaGoldfeil say they plan to maintain a business relationship, with the possibility of future ventures.

“We will continue to work with EganaGoldfeil as a source of well-styled, high-quality products and seek other opportunities for future collaboration,” said Hofmann. Hans-Joerg Seeberger, chairman and chief executive officer of EganaGoldfeil, said, “We look forward to continuing as a strategic partner to Bulova, and working with them to develop new opportunities.”

Founded in 1875, Bulova is a subsidiary of the Loews Corp. Its brands include Bulova, Accutron and Caravelle watches, as well as Wittnauer, which it acquired last year, and Bulova clocks.

EganaGoldpfeil (Holdings) Ltd. is one of the world’s leading distributors of timepieces, jewelry, leather and lifestyle products. Watch brands sold by EganaGoldfeil Group include Junghans, Carrera, Pierre Cardin, and Dugena. Brand names which it produces under exclusive license include Paolo by Paolo Gucci, Cerruti 1881, Esprit, Field & Stream, and JOOP!