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After-sales COMCO declines to investigate watchmakers over cartel claims

Watchmaker

Small watchmakers had complained about restrictions to the supply of spare parts by major watch firms

(Keystone)

The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) has decided not to open a formal investigation into watchmakers including Swatch, LVMH and Richemont over the supply of spare parts for independent watch repair shops. 

Citing a separate European Commission decision about the same firms, COMCO said in a statement on Tuesdayexternal link that Swatch Group, LVMH, Rolex, Richemont, Audemars Piguet and Breitling had not abused their dominant market positions regarding after-sales service agreements.

The European Commission had concluded that such agreements were neither unacceptable nor an abuse of market dominance. An EU court has already rejected an appeal of that decision, COMCO said.

A preliminary investigation had been opened in Switzerland following complaints from small independent watchmakers and customers about restrictions to the supply of spare parts by major watch manufacturers. In particular, they had complained that they could not access the necessary related documents.

Given the EU decision, “opening an investigation to contradict this decision would have made no sense and would have been disproportionate", COMCO Director Patrik Ducret told AWP news agency.

SDA-ATS/sb

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