A company linked to Rolex SA recently acquired a building located in Geneva's most expensive shopping street, which houses competitor Omega's flagship boutique. The purchase came amid fierce competition among major Swiss watch brands to acquire high-quality real estate.
Marconi Investment SA invested 120 million Swiss francs (equivalent to 133 million dollars) to purchase the building on Rue du Rhone, as reported in a filing with the Geneva land registry.
According to what was reported by the local newspaper Tribune de Geneve, among the tenants of the building is the largest boutique of the Omega brand, owned by the Swatch AG Group. Following this transaction, Omega will now have to pay a significant monthly rent to its main competitor, Rolex. Furthermore, Rolex will have an influence on the maintenance and management of the building. In certain circumstances, the new owner will be able to more easily terminate the existing lease, as reported by the Tribune de Genève.
Finally, confirming its continuously developing presence, Rolex announced in August the acquisition of the Swiss luxury watch retailer Bucherer AG and its 100 boutiques around the world. Bucherer sells several Swatch Group brands in some of its stores, including Longines, Tissot and Omega.
This real estate transaction highlights the intense competition between watch brands, both for winning customers and acquiring strategic store locations.