PARIS, France — French fashion house Chanel said on Monday that it aimed to strengthen its position in luxury watchmaking with recent investments in timepiece parts makers including small Swiss firm Kenissi.
Privately owned Chanel, known for its tweed suits and Chanel No.5 perfume, disclosed in its 2017 accounts last year a 20 million Swiss francs ($20.4 million) investment in Kenissi from March 2018, for a 20 percent stake.
It was the first time the fashion house has published earnings in its more than 100-year history.
On Monday, Chanel also announced it had taken a stake in Kenissi but declined to comment on whether it was now lifting its holding further with an additional investment, or making last year's purchase public ahead of the Baselworld trade fair in March 2019.
"The size of our investment has not changed and remains at 20 percent," Chanel said in emailed comments on Monday, adding it was publicising its holding ahead of the Baselworld trade fair in March. Kenissi makes automatic movements that will be integrated into a new Chanel watch due out then.
As well as selling high-end watches under its own brand — like a $11,000 "Code Coco" model made with ceramic and diamonds — Chanel has a smattering of stakes in other watchmakers including French label Bell & Ross and Swiss peer Romain Gauthier.
It also bought a stake in Swiss-based F.P. Journe last September, and it has holdings in other parts makers.
Chanel's earnings revealed that by revenues it ranked as one of the biggest luxury firms in the world, rubbing shoulders with LVMH's Louis Vuitton. Chanel did not break out figures for its watch business, however.
By Sarah White; editor: Susan Fenton.