Mondaine, Luminox Form Partnership, New U.S. Agency

Two Swiss-made watch brands—Swiss-based Mondaine, creator of the Swiss Railways Watch, and U.S.-based Luminox, known for its unique watch-illumination system—have formed a new partnership. It includes an endeavor to market their watches in the United States.

In April, André and Ronnie Bernheim, founders of the Swiss watch company Mondaine, bought 50 percent of the American company Luminox from Richard Timbo, one of its founding partners. In addition to Luminox benefiting from the Mondaine Group’s logistics and international network, its separate U.S. sales and distribution company has been renamed Lumondi Inc.

Swiss Army Brands Inc. of Shelton, Conn., the former U.S. distributor of Mondaine’s Railway Watch collection, handed it over to Lumondi in what a press statement called “a smooth and friendly way.”

“We value the relationships we built while managing the Mondaine business in the USA, and wish Mondaine the best of luck in this new venture,” said Sue Rechner, SABI president and chief executive officer.

Now based in San Francisco, Lumondi began distributing the Mondaine and Luminox brands June 1, targeting retail jewelry and specialty stores. The other founding partner of Luminox, Barry Cohen, remains a shareholder and co-CEO of Lumondi with André Bernheim, who remains CEO of Mondaine.

Lumondi Inc. made its first appearance with the Luminox and Mondaine brands in June at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas, with Cohen and Bernheim there to pre-sent the new strategy and products.

Mondaine, formed 20 years ago, is best-known for its Swiss Railways–licensed wristwatch version of the famous clock used in thousands of Swiss train stations for over 60 years. Mondaine’s timepiece has been recognized as one of the top 10 design classics in the watch industry for its clean-cut styling, large readable white dial, and red second hand with round tip. The brand, sold internationally, also has other collections of stylish fashion men’s and women’s watches.

Luminox (Latin for “light night”), launched in 1989, uses a unique Swiss-made illumination technology—tiny, self-powered, glass capsule gaslights installed in watch hands, hour markers, and, sometimes, bezels. One hundred times brighter than other illuminated watches, they can glow continuously for 25 years, and are guaranteed for at least 10. Two major breaks for it were contracts in the 1990s from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force for watches to use on night missions. Consumer versions have been best sellers.

Luminox watches are readable in any condition, including complete darkness. They’ve been made in Switzerland by various producers, most recently by Mondaine itself.