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BAD CRISIS: Longines

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Longines is a juggernaut of a brand for Swatch Group, believed to have sold 2.1 million watches worth CHF 1.65 million last year – almost 80% of them through wholesale — according to Morgan Stanley.

Its positioning as a highly desirable, affordable luxury, Swiss watch brand is perfect for the current market, but there have been virtually no new watches for its marketeers to build momentum around.

Searching back through my inbox in May (when this article went to press for the print magazine), the last Longines launch that came my way was in November, an elegant 1832 Heritage with models for both men and women.

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There have since been some launches, including the Longines Spirit three-hand automatic, a classic that is likely to be a solid commercial success.

With challenger brands like Christopher Ward and Seiko moving in on Longines’ turf and highly active since the beginning of the year, the brand will need to put on a show when normality returns.

Swatch Group has said that manufacturing has continued throughout the crisis, although there are no details on how much capacity has been trimmed.

The challenge for Longines over the summer is to unveil and distribute fresh collections in time for the holiday season.

If it chooses to go this route, we could see 12 months of sales squeezed into three.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder