Majors

Watches of Switzerland Scoops Up Independents Amid Expansion

MajorsNov 10, 2021

Watches of Switzerland Scoops Up Independents Amid Expansion

The company is widening its U.S. footprint, acquiring stores from Ben Bridge, Betteridge, and Timeless Luxury Watches.

Watches of Switzerland has a new store in the Mall of America after acquiring the location from Ben Bridge as part of its North American expansion.
New York—Watches of Switzerland just acquired five stores belonging to leading independent watch retailers in the U.S. as it continues its North American expansion.

The company scooped up Ben Bridge at Mall of America outside of Minneapolis-St.Paul; Timeless Luxury Watches in Plano, Texas; and three Betteridge stores in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Vail and Aspen, Colorado.

Terry Betteridge, who was recently inducted into National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame, and his family will continue operating the location in Palm Beach, Florida.

The acquisition prices were not disclosed, but the combined annual revenue from the five acquisitions is approximately $100 million, according to a company spokesperson.

“Each location offers exceptional opportunities for expanded growth, along with a valuable influx of existing watch clientele,” the company said in a press release about the acquisitions.

Watches of Switzerland’s acquired stores will benefit from the brand’s “unique and specialized approach to sales and customer service that includes creating immersive retail environments, supported with dynamic marketing, experiential activations, and social engagement.”

Watches of Switzerland has acquired three Betteridge stores, including this one in Vail, Colorado.
Watches of Switzerland has acquired three Betteridge stores, including this one in Vail, Colorado.

The stores will also have access to its network of resources, including its namesake brand, Analog Shift, Mayors, Mappin & Webb, and Goldsmiths.

As part of the expansion plan, the Ben Bridge and Timeless locations will be converted into Watches of Switzerland boutiques, while the acquired Betteridge locations will continue to operate under their own name for the “immediate future.”

The Betteridge store in Greenwich will be the company’s largest boutique in North America by square footage.

Terry Betteridge will take on an advisory role as Watches of Switzerland looks to integrate the multi-generational family business into its portfolio.

“In many ways, this seems like a return to our roots for Betteridge, with my family coming to the U.S. from England in 1892, bringing with them generations’ worth of metalworking skills,” said Terry Betteridge.

“I’m honored to be able to bring the experts of my house, the craftsmen and generational tradition of excellence, to join Watches of Switzerland. Being a valued part of their global network will allow for the greater world to experience what makes Betteridge so special.”

The Betteridge boutiques will continue to carry jewelry, including from brands like Chanel, Buccellati, Verdura, and Marco Bicego.

Watches of Switzerland began its U.S. expansion in 2017, when it acquired Mayors’ chain of stores from Birks.

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The opening of its first U.S. flagship in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood followed.

“After three years of strong foundational growth in the U.S. market, these acquisitions and new openings are directly in line with the projections we forecasted in our long-range plan,” said Brian Duffy, CEO of Watches of Switzerland Group. 

“Through focused investment on new projects and acquisitions, we continue our geographical diversification in order to solidify our position as the preeminent leader in the U.S. market.”

A new Watches of Switzerland store also opened in Kenwood, Ohio.

The newly acquired stores, combined with its new and existing stores and Mayors boutiques, will give the company a retail footprint in the Northeast, South, Midwest and Mountain regions and operations in four new states.

It will increase its U.S. employee count by 75, through both retention and new hires. All current employees of the acquired stores were retained, said a company spokesperson.

As of Oct. 31, the Watches of Switzerland Group had 158 stores across the U.K. and the U.S., including 46 dedicated mono-brand stores in partnership with Rolex, TAG Heuer, Omega, Breitling, Audemars Piguet, Tudor, and Fope.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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