Time’s up for the marriage of Tiffany & Co. with Swatch Watches, as the two companies aren’t only ending their partnership but are going into full-on bitter divorce mode with suits and countersuits abounding. One might say their timing was just off. Oh, zing!
The Wall Street Journal says things went sour in the partnership, which began in 2007, in September 2011. Both sides began playing the blame game, with Swatch saying it ended things because of Tiffany’s alleged “systematic efforts to block and delay development of the business.” They cited a breach of contract and sued Tiffany in December for 3.8 billion francs.
Meanwhile, Tiffany points the finger at Swatch, for failing “to provide appropriate distribution for Tiffany’s brand watches” and filed a countersuit for 541.9 million Swiss francs (around $589 million U.S.).
Swatch said the counter-claim has “no factual or legal basis” and that it will be “vigorously contested.” Tiffany hasn’t commented as of yet.
Analysts say the joint venture never really took off — Swatch isn’t a big player in jewelry, and Tiffany isn’t in the watch game, so it made sense in the beginning, but the two brands didn’t meld easily. Sorority girls and demanding teenagers are likely upset that they won’t be able to extend their visible signs of elite status by responding to inquiries with “What time is it? Tiffany time!” Bummer!
Tiffany Files Counter-Claim In Legal Spat With Swatch [Wall Street Journal]