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Breitling weighing a sale

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According to Bloomberg and its sources, the Swiss watchmaker Breitling is considering a sale.

The discussion, with Breitling being advised by investment bank GCA Altium, is at an early-stage and it could end in a ‘no-sale’ decision but is is worthy of attention as it involves one of the few top watch manufacturers remaining independent to this day.

Founded in 1884 in the Jura mountains by Leon Breitling, the eponymous brand was bought in 1979 by Ernest Schneider (1921-2015) who reinforced the already strong link of the brand with the aviation world developing the Chronomat, Aerospace and Emergency models. Ernest’s son, Theodore, is today the CEO of the company.


In 2015, Breitling’s turnover amounted to Swiss Francs 370 million (US$ 365.3 million) and similar figures are expected for this year, a positive result considering the current industry downturn. Sales of the brand represents around 5 percent of Switzerland’s higher-end watches, according to Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel.

At this stage there are no indiscretions on who could be the candidate buyer.

Large groups like Swatch Group, Richemont, and LVMH must obviously be considered as they have the resources for a deal that could be worth between 600 million and 900 million Swiss Francs.

Nonetheless, all of them already own brands which are in direct competition with Breitling so they do not have compelling reasons to buy.

Kering - who owns Girard-Perregaux, Ulysse Nardin, Boucheron and Jean Richard - could also be another option, just like lesser-known Asian and Middle Eastern buyers interested in investing in the luxury market.

The Breitling Chronométrie facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds, dedicated to the development and production of mechanical chronograph movements

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