By Michelle Graff
Tourneau has a new owner, Swiss watch and jewelry retailer Bucherer. Pictured here is the Tourneau flagship store in New York City, Tourneau TimeMachine, which is located at 57th and Madison.

New York--Swiss watch and jewelry retailer Bucherer has purchased Tourneau for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced this week.

Bucherer is buying Tourneau from Green Equity Investors IV LP, an investor group that is an affiliate of private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners and includes members of the Wexler family. Bucherer confirmed to National Jeweler via email that the purchase marks the exit of the Wexler family from the business.

Based in Lucerne, Switzerland, Bucherer is a retailer—the company has 33 watch and jewelry stores across Europe—and is the manufacturer of Carl F. Bucherer watches.

The purchase of 28-store chain Tourneau will effectively double its retail footprint, and also give it a presence in the United States.

In a news release issued Wednesday announcing the transaction, Bucherer CEO Guido Zumbühl said buying Tourneau gives the company an “exciting opportunity” to enter the U.S. market, “firmly establish” the Carl F. Bucherer brand here and introduce its jewelry line, Bucherer Fine Jewellery, to the market as well.

Tourneau already sells some Carl F. Bucherer watches but will expand its selection with the acquisition.

20180202 B T logosFor Tourneau’s part, CEO Ira Melnitsky called Bucherer a “dream partner” for Tourneau, noting its 130 years in the industry and its expertise in Swiss watches.

Bucherer said that Tourneau’s management team will remain in place and that it “looks forward to welcoming Tourneau’s employees into the Bucherer family in the coming months.” The company has a total of 600 workers.

As for changing the name of the Tourneau stores to Bucherer, which a Bucherer executive said was a “possibility” in an interview with, Bucherer said Thursday: “We will review the best way forward together with Tourneau’s management in the coming months.”

Tourneau has a total of 28 stores in 10 states, landing it at No. 28 on National Jeweler’s Top 50 Specialty Jewelers in North Americalist in the 2017 State of the Majors report.

Though the company will not comment publicly on sales figures, researcher Edahn Golan had Tourneau’s 2016 sales at $442 million in the $100 Million Supersellers list.

Tourneau traces its history back to 1900 when the Wexler family opened their first jewelry store in Eastern Europe.

Between 1924 and 1925, M. Wexler Watchmakers & Jewelers opened in Manhattan, and the Tourneau family emigrated from Paris to New York and opened a watch counter in the Berkshire Palace Hotel.

Tourneau started to grow and the Wexler family acquired the name in 1975, selling to Green Equity Partners in 2006 but remaining part of the business.

Bucherer dates back to 1888, when Carl-Friedrich Bucherer and wife Luise opened a jewelry store on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Today, the company is helmed by third-generation owner Jörg G. Bucherer, who is also president, and Zumbühl.

Bucherer is the second European company to make a purchase in the U.S. market in recent months.

U.K.-based Aurum Holdings Ltd. acquired Mayors jewelry stores from Birks Group in October.

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