Swatch Group Reveals Plans to ‘Revive’ Harry Winston

The Harry Winston salon at the corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City

The Swatch Group has revealed its plans for Harry Winston. The luxury conglomerate, which acquired Harry Winston last year, announced plans for “reviving an exceptional heritage” at the 2013 Annual Report of The Swatch Group Ltd in Bienne, Switzerland.

In a speech at the meeting on March 20, Nayla Hayek, Chair of the Swatch Group Board of Directors, looked to move past questions of whether the conglomerate’s $1 billion purchase of Harry Winston had been wise. “I won’t waste your time with reflections on the favorable conditions under which we were able to buy Harry Winston. I also won’t go into the question of whether, given our cash reserve situation, it was or was not the right moment, if it was a fair price or not, if it was the best possible investment we could make or not,” Hayek said.

Hayek went on to say that the Swatch Group planned to make Harry Winston one of its marquee prestige brands. Since Harry Winston – with its global workforce of 535 and its Geneva production company – was taken over by the luxury conglomerate, Hayek herself has spearheaded its integration into the Swatch Group.

At the March 20 meeting, Hayek also confirmed that the Swatch Group is committed to significantly investing in the brand to ensure its growth. Over the next two years, the luxury conglomerate will be “opening up new markets, attracting new clients and with a whole range of fantastic Harry Winston Salons, establishing ourselves more firmly than ever in the heart of the world’s major cities,” Hayek said.

Charlize Theron wearing a 31-carat Harry Winston diamond necklace at the Oscars

Harry Winston’s timepiece segment will no doubt benefit directly from the conglomerate’s manufacturing and distribution expertise. Already the brand will be relocated to a more prominent position on the ground floor when BaselWorld begins this week, and new high jewelry and high complication timepieces will be introduced at the fair. The brand also increased its visibility on the red carpet at events like the Academy Awards and the Cannes Film Festival.

The Swatch Group’s growth (8.3%) and gross sales (8.817 billion Swiss francs) for 2013 were also revealed at the annual meeting.

Photos courtesy Harry Winston.

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