Franck Muller dispute ends

The co-owners of the Franck Muller Swiss luxury watch brand have “come to an agreement, which puts an end to their dispute,” they announced Oct. 22.

Partners Franck Muller and Virtan Sirmakes, who started the company, headquartered outside Geneva, in the early 1990s, have been feuding for well over a year, over a dispute that involved counter legal suits and saw Muller leave the company to start over.

In the statement released Oct. 22, Muller “acknowledged that the allegations he had been led to state” against Sirmakes and the management team of the Franck Muller Group were “without basis” and he has “accordingly withdrawn them.” He said he “acknowledged the worth and loyalty of his partner, Vartan Sirmakes and thanks him for his excellent management of the group.”

For his part, Sirmakes reiterated “the affection and esteem” he has for Muller’s “watchmaking and creative abilities.”

The statement said the two agreed that the company’s management will continue to be led by Sirmakes, assisted by chief operating officer Didier Decker and chief financial officer Miguel Payro. Franck Muller himself will be retained by the Franck Muller Group as a consultant.

Attorneys for both men were instructed to withdraw all legal actions against each other.

Sirmakes, Muller, the Group’s management, and company employees are said to be “delighted” with the agreement which “will allow the Group to continue with its considerable growth, thanks to a renewed serenity.”

The partners’ statement pointedly cites Patrick T. Bittel, chairman of the board for Franck Muller Watchland S.A., “whose integrity and commitment to the interests of the Frank Muller Group have greatly helped during the difficult months to that the Group had to endure.”