Magnificent timepieces that have enduring longevity has secured Longines as one of the most prolific watchmakers of all time. Upscale Living magazine spoke to Charles Villoz, Vice-President of Longines about the history of the brand and their longstanding connection with the equestrian world.
Longines is both a partner and official timekeeper for International Equestrian Sports.
The first reason for our involvement is historical. In 1869 already, Longines produced a silver pocket watch with a horse head engraved on the back, tracing the relationship between the brand and the equestrian world back to the first years of the Longines’ Company in Saint-Imier.
Moreover, in 1878, the firm developed a chronograph movement fitted in a case engraved with a jockey and his mount. Seen on American advertisements as early as 1881 and extremely popular among jockeys and horse-lovers, this model enabled its user to time performances to the second. Since then, Longines’ commitment to horseracing – and more generally to the equestrian world – has never stopped growing and, over the years, the brand has created stable, lasting relations with this discipline.
Furthermore, our involvement in horse racing represents a perfect match with the brand’s image and philosophy, as we share similar values, such as performance, elegance, and tradition. It is also a discipline where men and women compete together, and which appeals to a female and male audience alike. This fully reflects our line of business, as Longines proposes a wide range of ladies and men’s watches.
Horse racing is not the only sport you are associated with; you also provide timekeeping in gymnastics, alpine skiing and archery at the International Level. How is the choice made as to get involved in a type of sport?
True to our motto Elegance is an attitude, elegance is the keyword when it comes to the decision whether we partner with a sport or not. Consequently, the sports we choose to get involved in reflecting our slogan and our values.
I also would like to stress that we can rely on a rich history in timekeeping and that we are really proud to offer our expertise to the various sports we are partnering with. We are then not only a sponsor but a real partner.
The Brand comprises many facets-time, elegance, precision, and style. Talk us through the philosophies of this incredible Swiss brand of watches.
Today, Longines is known and recognized worldwide. This is the result of the brand’s loyalty to its origins and its values of tradition, performance, and elegance, which have characterized Longines’ production since its inception. We have always remained reliable, timeless and constant throughout the years, no matter what was happening in the world or the industry. This is the key to our success.
The stunning Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been an ambassador since 1999. You have a varied mix of ambassadors; What does the selection process entail to become a Longines Ambassador?
Our Ambassadors of Elegance are part of the Longines’ family. It is then really important for us to build a strong and lasting collaboration with them. Consequently, our ambassadors are chosen very carefully. They embody Longines’ identity and image around the world. Thus, they have to live up to our motto “Elegance is an Attitude” and illustrate the true elegance, the elegance of a generous heart.
With the increasing popularity of “Lifestyle or Smart” watches associated with the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, is that a market Longines would explore at some point?
Smartwatches and “traditional” watches are two different products. On one side, you have an electronic product, on the other side, you have a long-lasting product that suits you and gives you an identity. It also marks your personal sense of taste and style. Today a watch is more and more considered as a status symbol. This is what we are offering at Longines and are good at.
You launched a striking rose gold pocket watch in 2014 in celebration of the horse: The Longines Equestrian Lepine. Do you think pocket watches could make a comeback?
In my point of view, pocket watches are a niche market. They complement a sophisticated style and are worn for a special occasion. As far as Longines is concerned, the brand has never ceased to produce pocket watches and offer its customers this kind of product. Today, we propose The Longines Equestrian Pocket Watch collection, which is a line consisting of reinterpretations of historical timepieces, which celebrate the rich heritage of the brand and its links with the equestrian world.
What is/has been your most popular watch for 2019?
This year we introduced new models in our iconic sport line Hydro- Conquest. Preserving the traditional style of diving watches, these latest variations feature a colored ceramic insert on the bezel. This highly technical and scratch-resistant material enhances the sporty, modern character of the models, which will appeal to dynamic people looking for distinctive, contemporary timepieces. Additionally, we went even further in using ceramic by offering a model entirely made from this material. This new all-black ceramic version features a dynamic profile with its 43mm case and the different finishes of each of its components: a matte dial, a polished case, a round satin bezel and a back blending a circular satin and matte finish.
Any exciting products/launches in the pipeline?
Indeed! Nevertheless, it is too soon to give you any details on our novelties to come. I can only tell you that we have some beautiful surprises in store for you.