Breitling Acquires Universal Genève For $70m, Aiming to Revive Historic Watchmaking Legacy

Breitling, a renowned Swiss watch brand, announced on Tuesday its acquisition of the historic Swiss watchmaker Universal Genève. This significant move is set to rejuvenate a name synonymous with luxury and horological excellence.

Transaction Snapshot

  • Deal Value: $70m
  • Deal Type: Acquisition
  • Deal Date: Announced on Tuesday

Breitling, under the leadership of CEO Georges Kern, expressed excitement and a deep sense of responsibility towards preserving Universal Genève's illustrious heritage. Known as the "couturier of watchmaking," Universal Genève's in-house movements and legendary models have long captivated watch enthusiasts.

Alfred Gantner, co-founder of Partners Group and chairman of the Breitling board, highlighted the intricate and gradual process of reestablishing Universal Genève's storied brand. He emphasized the journey as a labor of love, projecting a gradual revival over the coming years.

Universal Genève, established in 1894, gained acclaim in the 20th century for its innovative designs and mechanical movements. However, the advent of the quartz movement posed significant challenges, prompting a shift to quartz technology. Since 1989, the company was under the ownership of Hong Kong's Stelux Group, which now passes the baton to Breitling.

Breitling's plan involves restoring Universal Genève's legacy by blending Swiss tradition with modern aesthetics. Joseph Wong, chairman and CEO of Stelux Group, expressed confidence in Breitling's commitment to preserving Universal Genève's heritage and spirit.

The company's history is marked by notable achievements, including pioneering the reversible Cabriolet in the 1920s, leading chronograph innovation with its Compax series, and producing the world’s thinnest automatic movement with the Golden Shadow in 1966. Universal Genève also made a significant impact with the Polerouter, designed by celebrated Swiss watchmaker Gérald Genta in the 1950s, renowned for its robustness in extreme climates.

With this acquisition, Breitling not only aims to revive a revered brand but also to continue its legacy of horological innovation and elegance, respecting the past while looking towards the future.

📌 If you want more of this, subscribe to our newsletter - bite-sized tips and data to help you plan and execute your exit or capital raise.

Back to blog