Patek Philippe, as you may alredy know, is one of the biggest Swiss watchmaking companies around. Having more than 2000 employees and generating more than 1.3 Billion CHF in revenue in 2016.
Some sources say that the 180-year-old watchmaker could be sold for 7 billion to 9 billion euros ($8 billion to $10 billion). This implies a big deal not only for the company itself, but also for the watchmaking industry as a whole.
This enterprise has been owned by the Stern family for almost a century, in which they developed their most iconic and famous models. Creating a brand culture and reputation that may be affected by the ownsership change.
It was interesting to hear in the corridors of the Geneva watch salon that a potential sale of the high-end watch brand Patek Philippe could be approaching soon,
“In 2014, Stern told Swiss newspaper Le Temps that the company may eventually need to leave Geneva or put itself up for sale if its tax burden wasn’t reduced. Months later, the company announced a 450 million-franc ($451 million) investment plan in the canton.” Source: Bloomberg
Nevertheless this could be just a rumor running around watchmaking industry, as ocassionally rumors come up after the big watchmaking fairs (like SIHH, celebrated last week).
If we take a look at previous purchases of watchmaking brands, for example: the sale of Breitling for 800M€ to private-equity owners CVC Capital Partners, we can see a clear change of direction in the company’s business activities. Those could lead to a positive outcome or a disaster for the brand.
If you ask my opinion, I would probably tell you that Patek Philippe has a strong foundation that may be lost if they sell the company. They will most likely have the same watchmaking teams, same quality and same objectives, but the stablishment of new Directors may change their vision, that in my opinion, won’t be positive for the brand.
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