Arbitrator orders Tiffany to pay Swatch $449 million in contract dispute

December 22, 2013

Tiffany & Co. was ordered to pay the Swatch Group about 402 million Swiss francs ($449 million) in compensation over a contractual dispute, the companies said Sunday.

The Netherlands Arbitration Institute also required Tiffany to pay more than $9 million for the Swiss watchmaker’s legal fees and the cost of arbitration, according to a statement from the New York-based jeweler.

“We were shocked and extremely disappointed with the decision of the majority of the arbitral panel,” Tiffany chief executive Michael J. Kowalski said.

The dispute arose in 2011 when Swatch canceled its cooperation with Tiffany, with Swatch saying that the jeweler was in breach of contract because it was trying to “block and delay” a joint venture both companies had entered in 2007.

That year, they announced a 20-year agreement in which Swatch would create a new company, Tiffany Watch Co. Ltd., to make and sell watches under the Tiffany brand.

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