Luxury goods giant Gucci Group NV is to create a new unit to operate the watch businesses of its Gucci, Boucheron, Yves Saint Laurent and Bedat & Co divisions.

Called Gucci Group Watches, the new Switzerland-based division will be responsible for various operations including research and development, sales and distribution.

In a news release, Gucci said each brand will have control over the design of its own watches to ensure distinction. Sales of Gucci brand watches slumped 11 per cent to $211.7 million last year.