Industry consolidation

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The watch industry has dramatically consolidated during the 20th century to just a few watch groups. There were waves of consolidation in the 1930s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, all of which resulted in a few companies (Swatch Group, Richemont, LVMH, Kering, and so on) controlling most of the Swiss and European watch industry. Similar consolidation occurred in Japan, where Seiko Group and Citizen Holdings own much of the industry, and in America, which is dominated by Movado Group.

The Rise of Brands

1889

1890

1886

1893

  • March 27 - The Longines brand is registered worldwide

1893

  • The Zenith brand is registered

1920

The Great Depression

1927

1930

1931

1932

1933

1937

1938

1940

1941

1942

1944

1950

From Watchmakers to Corporations

1959

1960

1961

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

The Quartz Crisis

1972

1974

1978

1979

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

The Rise of Modern Groups

1985

1986

1987

1988

1990

  • Günter Blümlein and IWC begin working with Walter Lange to re-launch A. Lange & Söhne

1991

  • VDO's three watch companies (IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and A. Lange & Söhne) are organized as Les Manufactures Horologes (LMH) under Blümlein
  • VDO is acquired by Mannesmann, which also owns Jaeger
  • SMH acquires Porta Micromechanic (PUW and Rowi) of Pforzheim and VEB Uhrenwerka Ruhla

1992

1993

  • Cartier Monde is renamed Vendôme Luxury Group and IPOs
  • October - Richemont separates its tobacco interests into Rothmans International and its luxury goods business into Vendôme, including Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc, Piaget, Karl Lagerfeld, Chloé, Sulka, Hackett, and Seeger
  • Investcorp acquires the remainder of Gucci

1994

1995

1996

1997

  • Q1 - An internal audit recommends that Audemars Piguet divest of the 40% of Jaeger-LeCoultre it holds; Stephen Urquhart leaves Georges-Henri Meylan as sole CEO
  • Vendôme acquires Officine Panerai and Lancel
  • November 26 - Richemont announces that it will the remaining 30% of Vendôme
  • Movado Group begins producing Coach brand watches under license

1998

1999

2000

International Industrial Groups

2001

2002

2003

  • March - LVMH sells the Favre-Leuba brand to Valentin; rumors suggest LVMH will exit the watch business completely
  • December 23 - LVMH sells the Ebel brand to Movado Group for $47.3 million, keeping Ebel's "Private Label Development" arm and renaming it Les Ateliers Horlogers, a developer of high-end watch movements for Dior and others
  • Richemont acquires the rest of Van Cleef & Arpels

2004

2006

  • Richemont acquires Minerva

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2016

2019

  • November 25 - LVMH announces that it will acquire Tiffany €14.7 billion, though it would take two years to complete the deal

2021

  • January 7 - LVMH completes the acquisition of Tiffany at a lower price than announced two years earlier