Wunderman Buys 90% of Corum

January 7, 2000

Wunderman Buys 90% of Corum

California entrepreneur Severin Wunderman, who sold his watchmaking business Severin Montres to Gucci in 1997, has purchased 90% of Swiss-based watch manufacturer Corum. Jean-Rene Bannwart, Corum's president and the son of the founder, will retain 10% of the company.

Corum had been controlled jointly by the Bannwart family and the Al Fardan group of Doha in Qatar since the end of 1998. The privately owned firm did not release financial details of the transaction.

"I want to give Corum – like a phoenix that rises from the ashes – the international reputation it merits based on its know-how and tradition," Wunderman said in a statement. He said he wants to increase sales at Corum to 200 million Swiss francs (U.S. $128 million) within five years, from 30 million in 1999.

For the past 30 years, luxury/sport watchmaker Corum had been distributed in the U.S. by the Movado Group, which sold its distribution rights back to Corum early this week.

- by Michael Thompson