Consolidation of Luxury Brands Continues

The ongoing consolidation of Europe's upscale watch industry continued in the year 2000, with the Swatch Group-the world's largest watchmaker-adding another luxury watch firm to its collection, and other brands tightening control over sources of key watch parts. Acquisition of the 155-year-old German watchmaker Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb by the Swatch conglomerate was approved in October by its shareholders and management. However, financial details were not released. The German firm's prestigious Glashütte Original brand of luxury-priced mechanical watches joins Swatch's 16 other watch brands and strengthens its already solid upmarket segment. That includes Breguet (purchased in late 1999), Blancpain, the new jewelry watch brand Léon Hatot, Jaquet-Droz, Omega, Longines, and Rado. The decision to sell, said a statement by both firms, was due to "the considerable development potenti
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