On Monday 14 January 2013, Swatch Group SA announced that it had purchased 100% of the HW Holdings Inc. shares, giving it complete control of the Harry Winston watch and jewellery brand, with its 535 employees worldwide, and the production unit based in Geneva. The purchase price was USD 750 million, plus the absorption of the company's net debts to a maximum of USD 250 million.
The operation gives Swatch Group a firmer footing in the high-end jewellery market, which is currently dominated by Richemont and its flagship brand Cartier.
Robert A. Gannicott, chairman and chief executive of Harry Winston Diamond, said, "The Harry Winston brand now has a new home that can provide the skills and support that it deserves to realize its true potential."
The operation did not include Harry Winston's diamond mining activities, conducted by the Dominion Diamond Corporation. Swatch and Dominion Diamond Corporation will cooperate by means of a diamond sourcing agreement, and possibly a joint diamond polishing venture. The purchase means that Dominion Diamond Corporation will be concerned solely with sourcing diamonds, a positive move in a period in which prices for gems are constantly rising.
In the photos, the Ultimate Adornment timepiece (right), and one of the Opus watches, both by Harry Winston.