The results are out and with uneven performance across some brands, luxury conglomerates are consolidating their positions, Longines Watches (aside from Tissot and Omega) are keeping Swatch Group ahead of the industry slump with strong performances in China.
Why are Longines Watches so popular in China
Before one jumps straight to the conclusion of affordable price points, Swatch Group considers Longines at high-end segment comparative to prestige segment sister brand, Omega. Truth be told, Longines CEO Walter Von Kanel credits the brand’s epic Sino-centric performance to a well strategised ground game. Beginning with:
Well positioned Brand Ambassadors
In a 2012 International Business Times study, 3 out of the 10 top brand ambassadors belonged to Longines. Interestingly, an additional two belonged to Omega, which meant that in terms of image management and perception, 50% of top brand ambassadors belonged to Swatch Group, weaving a compelling picture of just how solid their commercial game is.
For 2016, Longines watches enjoy the support of global ambassadors like Eddie Peng, Lin Chiling, Aaron Kwok, Kate Winslet and Simon Baker. With 3 out of 5 celebrity endorsers are ethnically chinese in a celebrity environment that’s caucasian-dominant.
In 2014, Eddie Peng played beloved martial arts master Wong Fei Hung, his presence and his charisma are the perfect incarnation of the values that Longines watches embody, his boyish charm and refined demeanour make him an ideal Ambassador of Elegance for the brand.
Singer, dancer, actor, Aaron Kwok is considered one of Hong Kong’s Four Heavenly Kings. Devastatingly handsome and immensely talented, he became the only actor, after Jackie Chan, in the history of the Golden Horse Awards to win the Best Actor Award consecutively.
Lin was a Taiwanese supermodel before she made her film début role in John Woo’s historical epic, Red Cliff. In 2009, she starred together with Jay Chou in the action-adventure film, The Treasure Hunter. Incidentally, she’s the #1 model in a list of “Richest Celebrities in Taiwan” with Jay Chou appearing as #1 singer.
With a constant stream of top of the mind awareness in media, it’s difficult to not think Longines watches even when you’re watching your favourite TV show or latest blockbuster in the region.
Longines watches provide rich heritage and tremendous value
Founded 1832, the St. Imier watchmaker was a manufacture of the finest grade supplying Patek Philippe in the early days. Such is its repute that early Longines watches like the 13zn Chronograph are one of the most highly sought after vintage watches today.
Unlike some of the convoluted means employed by some brands to claim aviation legitimacy, Longines’ Winged Hourglass is a hallmark from the early 1920s as official supplier for the International Aeronautical Federation and even Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight.
Its history and technological mastery of the chronograph stemmed from early involvement in sporting activities as well, beginning with Equestrian in Geneva and again in Brazil’s Grand Prix. With such rich heritage and provenance, Longines has been able to tap into its extensive archives producing watches like:
2015’s Longines Column-wheel monopusher chronograph was a reminder of the legendary vintage 13zn chronograph. A well preserved Longines 13zn chronograph like this model on eBay can set you back USD15,000, case-in-point for symbolism of rich heritage with every new Longines watch you buy (even if the movements are now exclusively produced for Longines rather than in-house like in the days of yore).
With military watches making a comeback, the re-issue of the vintage Longines “Tartarugone” chronometer wristwatch produced for Czech military aviators led to tremendous spike in brand awareness and sales. Even this beat-up, rare vintage Longines MAJETEK watch with calibre 12.68Z can fetch USD2,500 on ebay.
Beyond the heritage and value, there’s also affordability of Longines watches.
Longines Conquest Classic with exclusive column-wheel chronograph caliber L688 price: $3,175. Unbeatable. At every turn, there’s simply no good reason not to get a Longines watch.