Long-time head of Swatch’s Omega retires, deputy steps up

Swatch named Raynald Aeschlimann to head its Omega watch brand after its long-time president announced plans on Wednesday to retire.

Raynald Aeschlimann – Omega

Stephen Urquhart, a 69-year-old dual British-Swiss citizen, is resigning his leadership post at Omega but will remain “available for special projects,” the Swiss watchmaker said in a statement.

Aeschlimann, Urquhart’s second-in-command, takes over at the maker of Speedmaster and Seamaster timepieces as the Swiss watch industry is being buffeted by twin forces: low oil prices, hurting Russian and Middle Eastern sales, and slowing Chinese economic growth.

Stephen Urquhart – Omega

Omega has been among bright spots for Swatch of late, posting strong sales during this year’s Lunar New Year holiday – Hong Kong is the biggest market for timepieces – even as demand for the company’s higher-end watches that include Breguet were sluggish.

Aeschlimann has been vice president of sales at Omega since 2001 and on Swatch’s extended group management board since 2013.

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 # Breguet,# Omega,# Swatch

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