Is Corum’s Move to China a Sign of Things to Come?
When Chinese watchmaker China Haidian Holdings purchased Eterna AG in 2011, the Swiss watch industry immediately took notice. Eterna was a major player in the world of luxury timepieces. The company was famous for developing the ubiquitous ETA movement. Without Eterna, there wouldn’t be an ETA movement in the vast majority today’s fine mechanical watches.
Now, China Haidian Holdings has consolidated its position in the luxury Swiss watch sector with the purchase of another Swiss icon: the popular luxury watchmaker Corum. China Haidian announced on April 24, that it had acquired 100% of Corum for 86 million Swiss francs (US $90.9 million). Corum timepieces are well known for their gold and jewel encrusted designs and the brand is quite popular with celebrities and watch aficionados. In a prepared statement China Haidian chief executive Hon Kwok Lung said, “I am very pleased with this acquisition and I firmly believe in the potential development of Corum.”
Is the Future of the Watch Industry in China?
China Haidian Holdings already owns two of the top four domestic Chinese watch brands, EBOHR and ROSSINI. In addition to owning the Swiss brand Eterna, Haidian also has a license to manufacture and distribute “Porsche Design” watches globally as well as distribute various other luxury watches in China.
With the Far East currently the strongest market for timepieces worldwide, watch industry insiders are looking closely at these Chinese acquisitions and wondering what they mean for the future. Many see Chinese acquisitions like Eterna and Corum a win-win proposition for all involved. The Chinese get access to hundreds of years of Swiss watchmaking knowledge and expertise. The newly acquired companies gain access to new and better manufacturing methods, along with an opportunity to more effectively market their products to the all-important Asian audience.
With wristwatches continuing to grow in popularity as a fashion accessory, many see a bright future for Swiss and Chinese companies alike.
About Gevril Group
Gevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.
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