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Europeans target watch makers over parts supply

European Union regulators are to investigate claims that several luxury watchmakers breached EU rules by refusing to supply spare parts to independent repairers.

Swatch Group of Biel, which owns Breguet, Blancpain and Omega, confirmed it was a target of the investigation by the European Commission.

The commission is to examine claims that several luxury watch companies colluded to exclude independent repairers from the market.

“It concerns almost the entire watch industry. We are confident regarding the outcome of this investigation,” commented Swatch Group spokeswoman Béatrice Howald.

The European investigation follows moves by the Swiss competition commission (Comco) which in June launched an investigation into claims that Swatch had abused its market position by refusing to supply watch components to other firms.

Unlike quartz watches using battery-driven electronics, luxury watchmakers use a clockwork or mechanical movement that involves tiny precision parts and requires the work of an expert to repair them.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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