Chanel flags growth in luxury watchmaking with stake in parts maker Kenissi

FILE PHOTO: Festive lights decorate the Chanel store on New Bond Street as shoppers do Christmas shopping in central London, Britain, December 16, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French fashion house Chanel said on Monday that it aimed to strengthen its position in luxury watchmaking with recent investments including in small Swiss parts maker Kenissi.

Privately owned Chanel said it had a 20 percent holding in Kenissi, unchanged from when it first disclosed the stake in its 2017 accounts released last June, which show it invested 20 million Swiss francs ($20.4 million) to acquire the stake in March 2018.

It was the first time the fashion house, known for its tweed suits and Chanel No.5 perfume, has published earnings in its more than 100-year history.

“The size of our investment has not changed and remains at 20 percent,” Chanel said in emailed comments on Monday, adding it was publicizing its holding ahead of the Baselworld trade fair in March. Kenissi makes automatic movements that will be integrated into a new Chanel watch due out then.

As well as selling high-end watches under its own brand - like a $11,000 ‘Code Coco’ model made with ceramic and diamonds - Chanel has a smattering of stakes in other watchmakers including French label Bell & Ross and Swiss peer Romain Gauthier.

It also bought a stake in Swiss-based F.P. Journe last September, and it has holdings in other parts makers.

Chanel's earnings revealed that by revenues it ranked as one of the biggest luxury firms in the world, rubbing shoulders with LVMH's LVMH.PA Louis Vuitton. Chanel did not break out figures for its watch business, however.

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Susan Fenton