Continuing its vertical integration in watch manufacturing, Chanel has just announced its 20% stake in Kenissi, a recently formed watch movement and component manufacturer, which it acquired for SFr20m in March 2018 according to Reuters, around the same time Chanel took a stake in F.P. Journe. Chanel’s announcement also stated that the first wristwatch equipped with an automatic Kenissi movement will be launched at Baselworld 2019 in March.
More intriguing are Chanel’s partners in the project. Swiss newspaper Le Temps writes that Kenissi is the “industrial arm of Tudor”. Though Kenissi is now based in Geneva, it will move to a new facility in Le Locle in 2021, where a factory about 150m long – nicknamed “Project Gemini” – is now under construction. Half the building will be for Kenissi, and the other half for Tudor, according to Le Temps.
That is confirmed by Swiss business registration records, with one of the directors of Kenissi Holding SA being Eric Yvon Pirson, chief of Tudor. And another director of the Kenissi is Jean-Paul Girardin, who was essentially running Breitling until private equity firm CVC took it over. Le Temps names Mr Girardin as the man who will be running the new Le Locle factory. That is perhaps unsurprisingly since Tudor and Breitling have been supplying each other with movements in recent years; the chronograph movement Breitling produces for Tudor is pictured above.
Le Temps adds that the majority shareholder of Kenissi is a “mysterious industrialist” who produces sapphire crystals for many large watch brands. According to records, the third and final director of Kenissi is Philippe Jacques Dalloz, who is also a director of several industrial companies specialised in production and finishing of various watch components, including sapphire crystals.
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