Movado Group and Swiss Army Brands reach settlement

Movado Group Inc. announced on July 28 that it had reached a settlement in its November 2001 civil lawsuit against Swiss Army Brands Inc. and two former Movado employees. The two were identified in the suit as Susanne Rechner, former Movado vice president of national accounts until 2000, and Todd Cozzolino, formerly in Movado sales, said a Movado spokesperson.

Rechner joined Swiss Army Brands in 2000, led the successful U.S. relaunch of its watches, and has been its president since 2002. She issued a statement saying, “I am pleased that the case has been settled, but under terms of settlement, I am unable to comment further.”

In its civil suit filed in New Jersey State Superior Court, Movado alleged that Swiss Army Brands and those named had interfered with its business activities by allegedly soliciting Movado sales employees to join Swiss Army.

The case came to trial this spring. A jury found in favor of Movado and awarded $3.8 million, which was later reduced in the settlement with Swiss Army Brands to $1.9 million, said a Movado spokesperson.

That amount will be recorded as an unanticipated pre-tax gain in Movado’s second quarter, ending July 31, 2004. After accounting for fees and taxes associated with the settlement, the second-quarter net income gain will be $835,000. Movado Group will report its full results for the second quarter on Sept. 8.

Movado Group Inc., headquartered in Paramus, N.J., designs, manufactures, and distributes Movado, Ebel, Concord, ESQ, Coach, and Tommy Hilfiger watches worldwide, and operates Movado boutiques and Company stores in the United States.

Swiss Army Brands, based in Shelton, Conn., is the exclusive United States, Canadian, and Caribbean marketer of Swiss Army Brand watches, sunglasses, and writing instruments, as well as the Victorinox Original Swiss Army Knife.