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Sowind Group

Sowind Group is a Swiss watchmaking holding company for the Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard brands, and is part of the Kering group since 2011.

History

Sowind was established by Luigi Macaluso in 1988 in La Chaux-de-Fonds as a distribution company for Girard-Perregaux, Breitling, and Hamilton in the Italian market. The company purchased a minority stake in Girard-Perregaux soon after, and in 1992 became majority shareholder of Lorane Holding SA, which owned 67% of the famed watchmaker.

After the takeover of Girard-Perregaux, General Manager Jean-Pierre Criblez remained in charge but Macaluso became the public face of the company as former owner Francis Besson departed. Sowind's holdings included the Girard-Perregaux and Daniel Jeanrichard brands, movement designer and producer GP Manufacture (a 55% ownership in this joint venture with Bulgari), and case and component maker EMG. The new management was able to take advantage of the expansion of the luxury watch industry in the 1990s to become one of the leading international brands, expanding into the Asian and American markets from a previous focus mainly on Europe and especially Italy.

In 1998, Sowind's Lorane Holding purchased the 45% of GP Manufacture previously held by Bulgari, ending the cooperation between the two companies. Bulgari had created Bvlgari Time SA in 1987 and was increasingly relying on suppliers other than GP Manufacture as it grew. GP Manufacture instead turned to supplying Vendôme Group makers like Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, and Cartier as well as Harry Winston and Daniel Roth.

In the 2000s, Macaluso's son Massimo Macaluso became more active, taking on management of the Daniel Jeanrichard brand. After the death of Luigi Macaluso in October 2010, control of the group fell to Massimo, his brother Stefano Macaluso, and their mother. A large share of the group was purchased by PPR (known as Kering since 2013) that same year, and the luxury group became majority owner in 2011. In 2014, Kering purchased Ulysse Nardin, adding it to their Sowind Holding along with Girard-Perregaux and Daniel Jeanrichard.

Michele Sofisti, formerly head of Gucci Group watches, became CEO of Sowind in 2011. He re-launched Girard-Perregaux's companion brand as JeanRichard under the management of Bruno Grande, adding a less-expensive line to expand sales. Sofisti also reduced the number of Girard-Perregaux references to focus the brand up-market and left SIHH in favor of Baselworld.

Antonio Calce took charge of Sowind in 2015. The former Piaget, Panerai, and Corum executive was trained as an engineer and re-focused the group on Girard-Perregaux with many historically-inspired models.

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sowind_group.txt · Last modified: 11.10.2021 17:07 (external edit)

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