Tiffany and Swatch: Lessons from an International Strategic Alliance
On November 23, 2018, the US jewellery maker Tiffany & Co. (Tiffany) received the final verdict in a years-long legal battle with the Swiss watchmaker The Swatch Group Ltd. (Swatch), which required Tiffany to pay Swatch millions of Swiss francs in damages (plus additional legal fees). The subject of the conflict was a strategic alliance the two companies had announced in 2007, which had once been called a "historic agreement" and a "pathbreaking strategic move." The alliance's objective was to design and manufacture luxury watches under the Tiffany brand name and distribute them across Swatch's vast retail network and through Tiffany's own stores. How did this once-promising alliance come to be terminated in 2011, less than four years later? What lessons could be derived from the failure of this alliance?