DKSH is Leaving the Watch Production Business
By Aaron Recksiek, CW21
DKSH Holding AG, also known as Diethelm Keller Siber Hegner, is a publicly traded company with nearly $10 billion of annual revenue. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, they are the current owners of watch brands Maurice Lacroix, Glycine, and a joint venture with Davidoff Watches. DKSH is primarily known for what they refer to as “Swiss Market Expansion Services.” This includes research and analysis, sourcing and manufacturing, marketing and sales, distribution and logistics, and after-sales services. However, their core business is helping other companies grow their businesses into new or existing markets, primarily Asian/Pacific markets, with over 95% of their business operations based in Asia. They provide any combination of these services to many watch brands including: Bedat, Bovet, Breitling, Davidoff, Glycine, Maurice Lacroix, Mondaine, Montblanc, Puma, Rolex, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Timex.
The majority shares of Maurice Lacroix were purchased by DKSH in 2011, the same year they introduced their first automatic Manufacture movement. In the recent years of the “luxury watch slowdown,” Maurice Lacroix watches have found it very difficult to compete in a crowded price segment occupied by brands controlled by much bigger watch groups. In the last couple of years, consumers have had access to deeply discounted Maurice Lacroix watches on Amazon.com, ranging from 20% off up to 66% off some of the more expensive models. Company representatives have stated that with the recent sales downturn, particularly in the Asian markets, and the surge of the Swiss franc, the watch-production business has started to show losses that were unappealing to the company’s shareholders. DKSH was stuck in a position where they needed to either commit fully in the investment of their watch-production segment or cut their losses and focus on their core proficiencies.
President and CEO of DKSH, Joerg Wolle, announced in July that the company was looking for new buyers not only for Maurice Lacroix but also for the Glycine brand, which they purchased in 2013, as well as all the associated manufacturing facilities. They are willing to sell them as a group or individually if necessary. Market experts have pegged the estimated value of Maurice Lacroix alone at $105 million. General manager for Maurice Lacroix, Stéphane Waser, told the media that they feel the brand would best be developed under new ownership, preferably within an existing watch group. Company leadership disclosed they had already been approached by several brands, and they hope to have the sale completed within a year’s time.
Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.