The Hour Glass buys prestige watch chain for $13.3m

The Hour Glass buys prestige watch chain for $13.3m

Luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass has completed its $13.3 million acquisition of retail chain Watches of Switzerland from the Jay Gee Melwani Group.

The Hour Glass Group now has a network of 20 outlets in Singapore and a total of 37 throughout the Asia-Pacific with the addition of Watches of Switzerland as a 100 per cent owned unit.

The Hour Glass will continue to maintain and operate the Watches of Switzerland brand, which has five stores here, in VivoCity, Paragon, Centrepoint, Tampines Mall and City Square Mall.

"The Hour Glass has always been focused on the core prime retail luxury market," said executive director Michael Tay in an interview with The Straits Times yesterday.

"But we would also like to have a stronger presence in the prestige watch segment, and this is where Watches of Switzerland holds a very dominant position."

Mr Tay said that the "custodial transfer" of Watches of Switzerland to The Hour Glass Group will bring about more developmental opportunities and strengthen its position in the watch retail sector.

"The retail landscape is shifting and changing. There is definitely rising affluence in the suburban districts of Singapore and we want to be part of that growth," he said.

The acquisition, which The Hour Glass funded with internal resources, has left the group with a combined headcount of 500, said Mr Tay.

This includes all of Watches of Switzerland's 34 employees, who will be retained.

Its former Singapore-based parent, Jay Gee Melwani, is a retailer of international names in lifestyle and apparel such as Nike, Levi's and T.M. Lewin. It also has associate companies in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates.

"Watches of Switzerland has a five-decade history operating in Singapore and we are delighted to have found a like-minded peer in The Hour Glass," said Mr R Dhinakaran, group managing director of Jay Gee Melwani.

"The Hour Glass not only understands and respects the core elements of our business, but also has the resources and capacity to grow the business with success.

"We believe this transaction will provide new opportunities for our employees, customers and business partners."

The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of The Hour Glass in the financial year ending March 31 next year.

SEEKING STRONGER PRESENCE

The Hour Glass has always been focused on the core prime retail luxury market. But we would also like to have a stronger presence in the prestige watch segment, and this is where Watches of Switzerland holds a very dominant position. - Mr Michael Tay, executive director of The Hour Glass

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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