John Galliano to Launch Watch Line

Morellato & Sector, the large Italian watch and jewelry conglomerate, has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Les Jardins d’Avron S.A. to produce and distribute worldwide a line of Swiss-made watches under the label of John Galliano, the influential, internationally famous fashion designer.

Les Jardins d’Avron makes and distributes John Galliano’s ready-to-wear clothing. Galliano, former chief designer at Givenchy—and the first British designer to head a French fashion couture house—designs ready-to-wear collections for Dior and for his own label.

The agreement is effective Jan. 1, 2008. The first John Galliano watch collection will be unveiled at the 2008 international BaselWorld watch trade show. Galliano himself will be “responsible for all creative decisions and the design aspect” of the watch brand, says a joint statement by the two companies. A new collection will come out annually with what the announcement called “an iconic shape” in different styles.

Calling the John Galliano brand “the essence of the contemporary luxury,” Massimo Carraro, chief executive officer of Morellato & Sector, said the new watch line will be “distinctly different from the mass product that has flooded the fashion market.”

This is the Morellato & Sector group’s second major announcement this month. Earlier, it purchased D.I.P. (Diffusione Italiana Preziosi Spa), operator of Bluespirit, the largest European store chain in the jewelry and watch sector, and also a brand of watches and jewlery.

Morellato & Sector, based outside Padua, Italy, has a large portfolio of self-owned and licensed, upscale and fashion watch and jewelry brands. They include Morellato, Molecole, Sector, Philip Watch, Just Cavalli Jewels, Just Cavalli Time, Miss Sixty Jewels, Miss Sixty Time, Roberto Cavalli Timewear, Moschino Hours&Minutes, and Pirelli PZero Tempo. It distributes in 45 countries.

The Group employs 800 people and operates 21 companies (10 in Italy and 11 abroad, including Sector Group USA, based in New York City.) In 2006, it did 195 million euros (almost $271 million).