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Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling has announced the purchase of Universal Genève, detailing plans to revive the company from ‘hibernation’. | Source: Universal Geneve
Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling has announced the purchase of Universal Genève, detailing plans to revive the company from ‘hibernation’. | Source: Universal Geneve

Universal Genève: Breitling acquires Swiss watch brand

Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling has announced the purchase of Universal Genève, detailing plans to revive the company from ‘hibernation’.

Breitling purchased Universal Genève from Hong Kong company Stelux Holdings, with media reports suggesting the price was around $US70 million ($AU104.32 million).

Universal Genève was founded in Switzerland in 1894 as ‘Universal Watch’ and was popular among high-end watch buyers until the 1970s.

Georges Kern-Headshot
Georges Kern-Headshot
“Universal Genève was once hailed as the couturier of watchmaking, renowned for its in-house movements and mythical models. It is a brand that watch enthusiasts have dreamed of seeing make a permanent comeback.”
Georges Kern, Breitling

Despite a fall from prominence, the company has continued to operate as a niche brand, with Breitling planning to raise its profile in the coming years.

“As excited as we are, we are also fully aware of the task at hand and the profound heritage we are set to uphold," CEO Georges Kern said.

"Universal Genève was once hailed as the couturier of watchmaking, renowned for its in-house movements and mythical models. It is a brand that watch enthusiasts have dreamed of seeing make a permanent comeback.”

The strategy for raising the company's profile will involve returning classic models from its archive with updates to meet the needs of modern watch collectors.

“Universal Genève will be run separately from Breitling, with a unique team, rather than being folded into the larger company,” writes Danny Parisi for Glossy.

“It’s a sign that Breitling is interested in becoming a larger player in the watch space, evolving from a single brand to a watchmaking group. That puts it on track to compete directly with companies like Citizen Group, which owns six watch brands, or Swatch Group, which owns 17.”

This acquisition is also a chance to expand Breitling’s reach into a new price range, with Universal Genève watches expected to cost significantly more than a standard Breitling timepiece.

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