Some major news out of Switzerland today. According to a Bloomberg report sent out this morning, Breitling sapphire dial fake watches are said to be considering a sale, and the most likely suitors would be luxury-goods companies, according to unnamed sources.
Breitling is one of the very few large luxury Breitling waterproof watches manufacturers that continues to operate independently of the Swatch Group AG, Richemont, LVMH, and Kering SA. The company was founded by Léon Breitling in 1884, a date that is proudly displayed on the company’s watches, and is best known for its range of pilot watches that it developed in the 1940s. The company was bought by Ernest Schneider in 1979, and it is now run by Ernest’s son, Theodore. Earlier this year, it joined a very short list of Swiss watchmakers making connected/smartwatches, when it presented its connected timepiece, the Breitling Exospace B55 Connected.
The sale of Breitling is being considered during one of the most difficult periods for the watchmaking industry, which has as been marked by steep declines in sales volume as well as profits, and is currently facing the longest downturn in exports since 1988. We saw back in August that expensive watches are the ones struggling the most, while there were positive signs for less expensive watches – a particularly strong segment for Breitling. (However the most recent figures from Switzerland show a continued decline across the board in sales since October of last year.) The company’s entry-level mechanical watch is the Colt Automatic, which starts at $3,090, but it also offers quartz watches for less.
According to Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel interviewed by Bloomberg, Breitling’s cheap replica watches sale were about CHF 370 million in 2015 (approximately $364 million at the time of reporting). Bloomberg contacted Breitling, but a spokesperson for the company declined to comment. HODINKEE has reached out to Breitling as well and should the company comment on the matter we’ll update you.