Chanel is taking a stake in Swiss timepiece parts maker Kenissi, which specializes in automatic watch movements, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive. Financial details were not disclosed.
The move builds on the fashion house's luxury watch operations. Chanel bought G&F Châtelain 26 years ago, the company said in its release. Last fall Chanel also grabbed a 20% minority stake in Montres Journe SA, which produces the upscale watch brand F.P. Journe.
Chanel has made efforts to streamline its operations, including consolidating its headquarters in London and shuttering its U.S. office. The privately held luxury company last year took the unusual step of publishing an annual report, detailing its finances, brand position and goals.
As with Chanel's investment in F.P. Journe, its stake in Kenissi suggests the company is interested in adding expertise as well as operations in the luxury timepiece market. The fashion house said it will debut a new timepiece manufactured by Kenissi at the Baselworld watch and jewelry trade show in March.
It's a move that could further Chanel's ambitions in a market poised to outperform much of retail as the economy slows in China and elsewhere and as headwinds stoked by trade wars and currency turbulence threaten to gain strength. Luxury sales, along with home improvement sales, are the most bullish sectors in an increasingly bearish retail mood, according to a note from Consumer Edge emailed to Retail Dive.
Chanel's moves last year to shutter its U.S. headquarters and consolidate its top offices in London came as other major players in the luxury sector have also streamlined operations. Michael Kors this month rebranded as Capri and acquired Versace; Coach in 2017 similarly rebranded as Tapestry; Burberry announced a brand "sharpening"; LVMH shook up its leadership suite and is amplifying Dior to fortify its own luxury position; and a year ago Kering shed sneaker label Puma to focus on luxury sales.
The Parisian fashion company last year also published a rare annual report, an acknowledgment that after 100 years operating its business under cover of private ownership, it stands to benefit from some accounting of its goals, sustainability efforts and sales.