It’s as if it was written in the stars: the winged hourglass that has served as the Longines replica watches logo for decades seems to have helped the company take flight. And they are reaching dizzying heights…
Few know that Longines is Swiss watchmaking’s fourth largest brand (behind giants Rolex, Cartier and Omega replica watches). It is guided by the masterful hand of Walter von Känel, who came to Longines in 1969 as a salesman and took over the company’s management in 1988. The brand has quadrupled its results over the past ten years, boasts a turnover of 1.5 billion Swiss francs today, and continues to grow more quickly than the majority of its competitors.
The formula for this success can be found most notably in the brand’s positioning: a consistent, coherent mid-range line that the brand is proud of. While many brands seek to go upmarket, Longines has stuck to its price point of 1,200 to 3,000 Swiss francs. And this strategy has paid off. The market’s tendency to fall back on more accessible replica TAG Heuer watches—particularly those on offer from Longines—following the economic crisis of 2008 only amplified the phenomenon.
However, implementing this strategy was by no means easy. Sacrifices were required to establish a positioning that was not natural to the brand. Let’s back up a bit: after Longines replica watches uk became a part of the Swatch Group in 1983, it was forced to sacrifice part of its workforce to ensure its survival. But that wasn’t all: the decision was also made that Longines, which had been manufacturing timepieces for over 150 years, would no longer produce its own mechanical movements. This sent shockwaves through Saint-Imier at the time, but it is a decision that is universally hailed today. “If we had remained a Manufacture, we wouldn’t be here today,” explains Walter von Känel.
Positioned between Tissot and Omega (which was beginning to go upmarket), in 1999 Longines was asked to market its brand around “elegance”, even though the Longines name laid claim to an unrivaled legacy in sports and timekeeping. Longines had to reinvent itself during the Swiss replica watches brand shake-up. And it stuck. For fifteen years later, the brand is still cashing in on its “Elegance is an attitude” slogan, selling to men and women alike, holding fast to its mid-range price point and offering an attractive price/quality ratio to boot. All of this has helped Longines reach its current situation (which no one expected): nearly 1,100 employees, and a presence in more than 140 countries via a network of 4,628 retailers and 176 boutiques!
Although the brand had to abandon its activity as a Manufacture—which Walter von Känel puts into perspective recalling, “we sell cheap IWC replica watches, not movements”—Longines has nonetheless benefitted from a sizeable advantage specific to the Swatch Group: ETA. Not only has this Manufacture regularly delivered to Longines over the years, but the Saint-Imier brand has taken measured risks and purchased several of ETA’s exclusive developments, which today enable Longines to capitalize on its own developments.
The fact remains that while Rolex replica watches uk has held fast to its positioning, a number of its competitors have sought to go upmarket, leaving the field even free for the Saint-Imier brand. Today, inspired by the Longines story, some competitors seem to have rediscovered the virtues of the mid-range market segment that, when developed properly, has been offering wonderful growth opportunities for several years.