New luxury group acquires Ikepod Watch Co., Poiray

A new luxury goods group has entered the luxury watch and jewelry markets. Lac Investment SA, a holding company based in Coppet, Switzerland, announced on Oct. 1 the creation of the new business, named the Perficio Group. It will seek to “acquire prestigious brands in the watch and jewelry sectors, and to ensure their effective management and development,” says a company statement.

The first two acquisitions by Perficio are the Ikepod Watch Co., a Swiss luxury watch brand in which Perficio has majority ownership, and Parisian jewelry house Poiray, which Perficio has acquired completely. These “represent the first steps in this strategy of global management,” says the company.

Lac established Perficio, says a company statement, in order to expand its activities in the luxury goods sector. Christian Weber and William J.G. Devine, who head Perficio, are veterans of the watch and jewelry businesses. Their intent is to “put together a luxury goods group of manageable size [and] help companies [it acquires] organize themselves to face an increasingly competitive international market.” Following the acquisitions, “an effective management framework” will be installed in the companies which will “centralize various essential functions, including management of finances, marketing, communication, logistics, and/or production.”

Perficio has taken over the management of its first two acquisitions, Ikepod and Poiray.

* Ikepod, a small, innovative Swiss watch company, was founded in 1994. Recently, significant financial difficulties forced the company to file for bankruptcy and co-founder Oliver Ike to leave the company and its board of directors.

Perficio’s short-term goal is to help Ikepod develop an effective recovery plan. “A rehabilitation program and a new management policy should ensure the stabilization and subsequent development of the watch company,” it says.

The brand will continue to be positioned as a luxury-priced watch. Initially, Perficio will focus the Japanese market—Ikepod’s strongest market—and on revamping Ikepod’s internal management. However, Perficio also is reviewing the distribution of Ikepod watches in Mexico, the United States, Canada, and the West Indies.

* Poiray Joaillier Paris, founded in 1975, has an international network of retailers and owns several boutiques and in-store shops in France and in Japan, its two main markets. Perficio plans to reposition the Poiray brand in terms of image and markets. Immediate steps include a new logo and a new advertising campaign this fall. The company also is working on developing new international markets.

Poiray’s watch and jewelry collections are being “rethought in the context of the repositioning strategy,” says a Perficio statement. The product range will be simplified to “communicate a strong and coherent identity,” and a new collection of watches and jewelry will be launched in spring 2004. They will be created by Dick Steenman, a Geneva, Switzerland, designer who has joined the Perficio Group.