Gucci Sells Bedat & Co. to LuxuryConcepts

Bedat & Co. logoSwiss luxury watchmaker Bedat & Co. has been sold by the Gucci Group to Luxury Concepts Watches & Jewelry.

Gucci, one of the world’s leading luxury goods companies, said Wednesday that “a definitive agreement” of sale had been signed with the Malaysia-based company, in partnership with Viviane Fankhauser, acting-chief executive officer of Bedat & Co.

Details of the sale weren’t released, but Robert Polet, Gucci Group president and chief executive officer, called it “a good deal for all parties concerned.”

Bedat & Co will continue to design, market, and sell luxury Swiss watches under the Bedat & Co. brand.

Frank Low, CEO of LuxuryConcepts, which had been Bedat & Co.’s distributor in East Asia, said he is “delighted that we will be able to build upon the legacy created at the brand and to develop its potential further.”

LuxuryConcepts, established in 2005 by Low, is based in Kuala Lumpur. It is a specialist brand management company focused on introducing and managing highly-specialized watch and jewelry brands to the East Asian market. Other luxury brands it represents and distributes exclusively in East Asia include Armand Nicolet, BLU, Frank Vila, Hysek, Korloff, Rebellion, Romain Jerome and TechnoMarine. It also operates five  luxury boutiques in Kuala Lumpur, including one for Bedat & Co.

Bedat & Co. was founded in 1996 by Simone Bédat (a founding partner of luxury Swiss watch brand Raymond Weil SA) and her son, Christian. The Geneva-based company’s timepieces entered the U.S. market in 1997, enjoying initial success.

In December 2000, Gucci acquired 85 percent control of the company, expanding its luxury watch portfolio and intending to establish Bedat & Co’s in the global luxury watch business in major markets in Japan, Europe, and Asia.

In 2006, Simone and Christian Bédat resigned. No official reason was given, though there were earlier reports they allegedly differed with Gucci Group’s strategy and plans for the brand.

In recent years, Bedat & Co.’s business “didn’t reach the level of performance we were expecting,” said Polet, and in recent months, some in the Swiss watch industry even thought it might even be forced by recessionary pressures and problems to close.

Now, with LuxuryConcept’s expertise in distributing niche high-end watches in East Asia, “Bedat & Co is set to become a strong player in their markets,” said Polet.