There have been reports of Breitling SA being up for sale and today the deal has been sealed. Bloomberg and Reuters reported that CVC Capital Partners added the Swiss watchmaker to their portfolio for around $870 million USD.
The private equity firm was founded in 1981 in Luxembourg and now has control over an iconic brand that has been making watches since 1884. But that’s the way of the modern world.
For now, the buyout will be an 80/20 split. CVC with 80 percent of the company and Théodore Schneider (the current majority stakeholder) will reinvest capital for the remaining 20 percent.
As with other Swiss brands, they never should have entered the competition to put out in-house movements. Many watch buyers couldn’t justify the price increases since that race began. Not to mention the expense of that mission, combined with the lackluster Swiss watch exports.
For all we know, Breitling could’ve been in an emergency of a financial situation and bailed with just the right timing. Even still, goodbye to another independent watch manufacturer.
What does the CVC buy-out mean for collectors?
We’ll see. The reports mention a strong demand for Breitling watches in the Chinese market, but that’s what a lot of the brands claim. The Swiss watch industry also blames the crackdown on gift-giving in China for their recent decline in global sales. Oh, the irony of the watch world.
Will my Breitling warranty still be good?
Yes, you’re good. The company isn’t defunct, it’s just been bought out by a new majority shareholder.
So now what?
The deal is expected to close in June. In the meantime, buy pre-owned Breitling watches 😉