by | Dec 24, 2020 | Style, Watches

It’s the holidays, and after a brutal 2020, it’s time to focus ahead to 2021. The luxury watch industry certainly is. Baselworld, the annual gathering place in the Swiss city of Basel, attracting many leading brands, has been put to rest. Baselworld had been around since 1917. HourUniverse is a new event for players in the watch, jewellery and gemstone industry. In a pandemic world, watch brands have had to completely re-set how they market themselves and get their messages out there.

Longines is one of the oldest, Swiss-watchmaking companies, founded in 1832, so they’ve had a front row seat for the ebbs and flows of the luxury watchmaking industry going back decades. Few companies can match their elegance and tradition.

Related: Top 10 men’s luxury watches for 2020

Matthias Breschan is Longines’ new CEO, starting last July. Breschan previously managed two Swatch Group sister brands: Rado and Hamilton. In our latest interview with watch industry executives, Breschan talks about finally closing the door 2020. He talks about what to look forward to in the new year, evolutions in e-commerce, as well as hinting at new Longines roll-outs.

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Let’s get positive, after a horrible year: What excites you about the watch industry, and about your brand, for 2021?

The watch universe is the only sector I know which builds on its traditions to go further and innovate. In watchmaking, perpetuating a tradition is what makes us alive. This is particularly true for Longines, a brand with a deep historic dimension, launching technically very performant products.

Since my arrival, I have been absorbing the brand’s DNA. Together with the teams, I will make sure we will continue developing Longines’ universe. And despite the present circumstances, I am really confident for 2021.

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What are your plans to re-enter the market after the pandemic?

Longines is a global brand and is established in over 150 countries. We are confident that our products and values will allow us to continue growing and developing all over the world. And we know there are still markets with a huge potential.

Today, we are a leader in our price segment ($1,440 – $5,800 CAD) and we intend to continue working hard, innovating and making the most of our 188-year-old rich Heritage. Besides, we can count on our long watchmaking expertise and heritage, as well as on the industrial power of the Swatch Group, providing state-of-the-art technologies and synergies to the brand to achieve these goals.

Moreover, we are delighted to point out that despite the fact most of our stores and point of sales were closed during several months, we see a positive trend since June with better figures than the same period in 2019.

Of course, we have many surprises for 2021 with new variations in our signature collections as well as new Heritage models, stay tuned!
Matthias Breschan

CEO, Longines

What will the luxury watch landscape look like post-Covid? Is the definition of luxury changing, based on what the world is going through?

If 2020 had one merit, it would be to foster creativity, especially in terms of communications. Our world is complex and continuously evolving, together with our habits. Today, online market has become essential to reach customers, including in the luxury sector.

In this sense, one of our short-term goals is to expand e-commerce into more and more local markets worldwide. In parallel, we are also developing our digital communication channels, as they are crucial means for customers – as well as for our teams in the markets – to learn about the brand and discover Longines’ products.

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Today, regardless of the current crisis, no one is buying a watch only to check the time anymore (even though our timepieces are very precise!). In fact, a Longines watch is more than a practical object. It is more considered as a status symbol, telling people who you are, what are your tastes, what’s your mood.

For example, even though wearing a Hydroconquest model does not make you a professional diver, it displays a sporty and dynamic image. Wearing a Longines timepiece gives a clear message: my watch has a story to tell, and so do I.

Despite the market challenges, can we expect a robust schedule of roll-outs from Longines in 2021?

Of course, we have many surprises for 2021 with new variations in our signature collections as well as new Heritage models, stay tuned!

And finally, tell us about your personal style, and how does your watch collection reflect or augment that?

My personal style obviously also depends on what I am up to. For work, I would describe it as simple, elegant and modern. Regarding my watch collection, when I joined Longines, my first pick was a model of the Longines Spirit collection.

More than a simple timepiece, this line is a slice of history. It is made for modern pioneers: active men and women for whom style and performance go hand in hand. People who are not afraid of failing and always want to go further.

With this watch on my wrist, when I close my eyes, I feel a bit like Howard Hughes at the controls of his airplane, equipped with Longines instruments, setting out in 1938 for the fastest round-the-world trip ever made – a flight timed by Longines!

Matthias Breschan Longines
Matthias Breschan, CEO, Longines, Image: Longines
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