WHEN HARRY MET SWATCH

It is, at first glance, a most un­ex­pected union. On the one side, a bas­tion of ex­treme glam­our. On the other, a brand that is ac­ces­si­ble to all. One is ex­pen­sive, the other is cheap. One is ex­clu­sive, the other is demo­cratic. One is known for di­a­monds, th

Plaza Watch International - - Display Case - words Stephen Whit­lock

Harry Win­ston, the leg­endary jew­ellery com­pany founded by the man who once owned the Hope di­a­mond has been ac­quired by the Swatch Group.

Of course, the Swatch group is more than just a maker of pop watches. It has long been one of the in­dus­try’s ti­tans, and is al­ready the owner of an il­lus­tri­ous sta­ble of brands at var­i­ous price points, in­clud­ing Ja­quet Droz, Omega, Breguet, Blanc­pain, Bal­main, Tis­sot and Longines.

The merger was an­nounced in Jan­uary. Swatch paid $750 mil­lion and as­sumed $250 mil­lion of debt. The bil­lion dollar deal means Swatch now owns Harry Win­ston’s fa­mous Fifth Av­enue store in New York City and other branches, though not the com­pany’s di­a­mond min­ing op­er­a­tions.

Nei­ther side would talk about the deal but it was al­most in­evitable that the press re­lease would ref­er­ence Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, who trilled about Harry Win­ston in Gen­tle­men Pre­fer Blon­des. In a fa­mous scene in the movie Mar­i­lyn wears a hot pink dress and is wooed by rows of tuxedo-clad suit­ors who line up to of­fer her di­a­monds.

“We are proud and happy to wel­come Harry Win­ston to the Swatch Group fam­ily,” says Nayla Hayek of Swatch. “Di­a­monds are still a girl’s best friend.”

That may be so but it is im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine Mar­i­lyn singing: “Talk to me Swatch, tell me all about it.”

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