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
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.”