Invicta Watch Group
Purchases Swiss Brand Glycine
By Aaron Recksiek, CW21
Last year it was reported that Swiss consulting and marketing powerhouse DKSH Holding AG was looking to leave the watch manufacturing business and was trying to sell off the watch brands in which it held the majority ownership stake. The company was successful in transferring ownership of Glycine Watch SA, one of the two major brands it was trying to divest. The other brand up for sale is Maurice Lacroix, for which they have been unable to find a suitable owner yet. When the brands became available for sale, one of the statements from company leadership was that “the brands would best be developed under new ownership, preferably within an existing watch group,” and that is precisely what was accomplished.
On August 11, it was announced that US-based watch company Invicta Watch Group finalized the purchase of Swiss brand Glycine Watch SA. Under the new ownership, both will benefit from each brand’s particular set of strengths, with Invicta having a strong marketing arm and large distribution network in the North and South American markets, and Glycine having a longstanding, respected Swiss reputation and market share in Europe and the UK. In the press release, Eyal Lalo, CEO of Invicta, stated: “The synergy between the two brands will create growth for Glycine. It is our commitment to remain dedicated to preserving the quality and long history that made Glycine the respected brand that it is today. We will support Glycine while maintaining its independence and rich Swiss heritage.” By mutual agreement of both parties, financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Since Swiss entrepreneur Eugène Meylan founded Glycine in 1914, the company has been producing watches at its factory in Bienne, Switzerland. The brand reached the peak of its popularity with its introduction of the Airman in 1953, which was worn by pilots during the Korean War. The Airman, a 24-hour-dial watch with multiple time zone options and extremely legible display, has been the flagship piece of the company ever since. The brand is respected for designs that are not always mainstream but that always emphasize function.
Despite the fact that the majority of Invicta watches are currently produced and assembled in Asia, the Invicta Watch Company actually started out in 1837 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Watchmaker Raphael Picard founded the company, and the Picard family had at least a part in ownership and operations until 1991. Invicta has always tried to stick by the family’s initial founding philosophy: the highest quality watches for the lowest possible cost. Even today, a large amount of their business still caters to the entry-level watch collector. In the 1970s, the factories were shuttered, and watch production had all but disappeared during the beginning of the quartz watch revolution. In 1991, an American investment firm purchased the company and moved all their operations to Florida. The company has been building its operations exponentially for the last 25 years and now maintains one of the largest market shares for the under-$1,000 watch segment. Invicta also owns watch brands TechnoMarine and S. Coifman.
Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.