Rolex Deal Leads Investor in Luxury Watch Dealer to Dump 5 Million Shares

Phil Rosen

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Bloomberg reported one of Watches of Switzerland’s major investors dumped 5 million shares after Rolex’s deal to take over Bucherer.
Rolex is set to take over the luxury watch seller to gain more control of its retail sales.
Watches of Switzerland stock plunged 21% last week on the day news of the deal broke.

A big investor in Watches of Switzerland sold 5 million shares of the luxury watch seller, according to Bloomberg, less than a day after news broke that Rolex had agreed to take over rival retailer, Bucherer.

The deal was announced last Thursday, and on Friday Edinburgh-based asset manager Abrdn Plc slashed its stake from 8.2% to 6.1%, per regulatory filings with the London Stock Exchange cited by Bloomberg.

Given its legacy status and fame, Rolex is a bellwether for the luxury goods market. That was put on display last week when its new foray into retail sent Watches of Switzerland stock plunging 21%.

The deal sparked concerns that Rolex could be absorbing more of the retail market, taking away from third-party sellers like Watches of Switzerland, which has about 60% of its sales coming from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet.

Bucherer, meanwhile, is a 135-year-old watch seller based in Switzerland that operates more than 100 shops, with more than half selling Rolex items. The takeover could further disrupt the watch market if it leads other producers to seek greater control over where and how their products are sold.

The luxury watch market is facing some headwinds. Earlier this summer, prices on name-brand watches on secondary markets hovered near two-year lows. Even wealthy buyers have slowed down on buying, and demand has yet to bounce back amid higher interest rates and softening consumer spending.

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 Rolex is set to take over retailer Bucherer, and shares of Watches of Switzerland tanked 21% the day after news of the deal broke.