Swatch in £620m swoop on Harry Diamond jewels arm


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The Independent Online

The jewellery arm of the Canadian diamond company made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” has been acquired by Swatch for $1bn (£620m).

Swatch, the Swiss watch giant, is to pay $750m in cash for Harry Winston Diamond’s retail jewellery and timepiece division, plus up to $250m of debt on a pro-forma basis, to expand into selling luxury bracelets, rings and necklaces.

The Toronto-based diamond firm achieved global prominence when Marilyn Monroe sang “Harry Winston, tell me about it,”  in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953. Nayla Hayek, the chairman of Swatch, said: “We  are proud and happy to welcome Harry Winston to the Swatch Group family. Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend.”

Swatch, based in Zurich, is the world’s largest watchmaker and owns the luxury brand Omega, as well as its colourful eponymous watches. Harry Winston founded his company in 1932 and became one of the world’s most famous jewellers. He was the first to lend jewels to an actress to walk the Oscars red carpet in 1944.

Once the sale of its retail division to Swatch is completed, Winston will focus on its diamond mining and distribution business.