KEY POINTS

  • Alan Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer own Chanel
  • The brothers have $24.6 billion net worth each
  • Gerard leads Chanel's watch division

Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer own Chanel and they have a combined net worth of $50 billion. Here’s how they built their massive fortune.

The Wertheimer brothers lead different departments at Chanel: Alain Wertheimer sits as chairman while Gerard heads the watch division. The two are grandchildren of Pierre Wertheimer who founded the luxury brand in the 1920s with Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel.

Per Forbes, the Chanel chairman is worth $24.6 billion while the watch division head also has the same fortune. The Paris, France natives are considered among the wealthiest in the country and they like to live to the fullest despite being secretive and private compared to their billionaire peers.

The face of Chanel has always been Karl Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel. However, Lagerfeld, who served as the creative director of the luxury brand, passed away in 2019 and Virginie Viard has been appointed as the new creative lead. The former creative head was credited for bringing the brand into the public’s consciousness, with prolific design work for almost three decades. Some celebrities who paid tribute were Tilda Swinton, Cara Delevingne, Helen Mirren, and Pharrell Williams.

On the other hand, according to Business Insider, the French brothers are into horse racing and have won French Derby and the Breeders' Cup Turf in the U.S. The Chanel heirs also own vineyards located in France and Napa Valley, California. They acquired Chateau Rauzan-Segla winery and St. Supery winery in 1994 and 2015, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Chateau Canon in France, which the brothers renovated, features six bedrooms but is not available to guests. When it comes to properties, it was reported that the Weirthermers own at least eight homes across the globe. The 69-year-old Gerard Wertheimer owns a French-style mansion in Geneva, Switzerland while his 71-year-old brother lives in a Fifth Avenue apartment with his family in New York. 

The family is also into art collection and among the most notable in their possession are the works of Picasso, Matisse and Rousseau.

Chanel has maintained its position as a powerhouse in the fashion industry. In 2019, it recorded $13.7 billion in sales with contributions from watches, fragrances and handbags on top of cover dresses. However, with the ongoing pandemic, it remains to be seen how it will affect the brand’s performance for 2020. With over 20,000 people employed worldwide, Chanel has been tagged as one of America's Best Employers last year and 52nd most valuable brand of 2020.

Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer, owners of the House of Chanel, with jockey Olivier Peslier attend the Prix de Diane Hermes on June 13, 2004 in Chantilly, France. Photo: Michel Dufour/WireImage