European Commission closes its inquiry on luxury watchmakers
The European Commission has closed its antitrust inquiry on luxury watchmakers in several member states (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) in relation to their refusal to supply spare parts to independent watch repairers. The European Commission concluded that it saw only a limited likelihood of finding the infringement in the present case.
The inquiry took place after the European Federation of Watch and Clock Repairers (CEAHR) lodged a complaint before the European Commission. The CEAHR questioned the actions of the prestige/luxury watch manufacturers, alleging they were anticompetitive by excluding independent watch repairers.
The European Commission rejected the complaint in first instance considering the sector to be of a limited economic importance. However, after taking the General Court’s judgment into account, the European Commission decided to start a formal inquiry on August 2011.
After its inquiry the European Commission concluded that in the case of the prestige watch manufacturers (focusing on watches sold above a certain retail price) who refuse to deliver spare parts to independent watch repairers, there is a limited likelihood of finding infringement of the EU antitrust rules.