Watch this investment: WatchBox has acquired a majority stake in Swiss watchmaker De Bethune, a sign that the e-tailer, which sells pre-owned luxury watches, is taking a greater interest in independent watchmaking.
According to a statement, WatchBox and De Bethune confirmed they have agreed upon the investment and “closing will take place within the following days.” No further information was available on the size of the outlay other than that it is a majority investment, the announcement said.
De Bethune is led by founder and master watchmaker Denis Flageollet and CEO Pierre Jacques. Since 2002, the independent watch manufacturer has focused on “classic watchmaking skills and craftsmanship with a contemporary technical process,” WatchBox said in a statement. Industry recognition for the watchmaker’s traditional techniques and recent growth were among the reasons WatchBox gave for investing in the Geneva-based company.
The e-tailer’s investment will help De Bethune put more money into its future growth, focus on its customers and partners, and remain “true to its creative and quality principles,” the WatchBox statement said. Jacques and Flageollet, who serves as chief operating officer, will remain on the De Bethune board of directors as well as lead teams in Geneva and L’Auberson.
WatchBox’s admiration for De Bethune was clear even before the Aug. 31 investment announcement. On its Facebook page, WatchBox posted a link to the De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius, calling it “sensational.”
“WatchBox has been a trusted partner of ours and a dynamic supporter of De Bethune for years,” Flageollet and Jacques said in a prepared statement. “We have long admired their desire and commitment to educate the global watch community on the art of watchmaking and are delighted to now join together. WatchBox’s investment will enable De Bethune to fulfill our long-term vision of advancing and reinterpreting watchmaking.”
WatchBox was founded in 2017 by Danny Govberg, Justin Reis, and Tay Liam Wee. It sells a variety of contemporary watchmakers and independent brands on its website. WatchBox, which describes itself as the global leader in collectible luxury timepieces, has locations in the United States, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong. The Philadelphia-based company has announced other industry partnerships in recent years, including one with Swiss watch retailer Les Ambassadeurs.
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