Richemont Buys Dubuis Production Facility

Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, one of the world leading luxury products groups and watchmaker, has purchased the micromechanical watch components production facility of Swiss luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis SA. The value of the transaction, announced by both companies on Sept. 17, wasn’t released.

The facility in Meyrin, Switzerland, outside Geneva, will become part of the Manufacture Genevoise de Haute Horlogerie SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Richemont Group. The Meyrin plant currently manufactures movement kits for Roger Dubuis’ Poinçon de Genève watch movements, and will continue to do so under Richemont, says a long-term supply agreement.

The purchase only involves the production facility. Roger Dubuis SA, whose owner, chief executive officer and sole shareholder is Carlos Dias, remains an independent watchmaker and distributor of its brand.

However, Richemont will distribute Roger Dubuis watches in some key markets, including the United States and the Middle East. Roger Dubuis has been without an active U.S. distributor since a legal dispute with its former distributor in late 2006.

The transaction between Richemont and Roger Dubuis benefits both companies.

Roger Dubuis SA, which according to some past Swiss reports allegedly had some financial difficulties, said “this partnership has stabilized the financial situation” of the company, “providing it with the production and distribution means necessary for its future development, as well as guaranteeing and preserving the continuity of the company, while safeguarding the interests of its employees, creditors, and all its shareholders.”

For its part, Richemont said that due to rising demand for components for high-end watch movements for both its own luxury watch brands and Roger Dubuis, it plans “over time, to extend the production capacity at the Meyrin facility.” Some 200 employees there, down from 400 a couple years ago, will be retained by Richemont, and “the number is expected to grow, as the business develops.”

Richemont’s portfolio of leading luxury watch and jewelry brands include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, IWC, Baume & Mercier, Vacheron Constantin, Officine Panerai, A. Lange & Söhne, Montblanc and Alfred Dunhill. It holds a number of other, smaller brands and manufactures watch component for third parties.