“Longines made over CHF1.5 billion, so we had a good year. On a wider scope, we have been successful in multiplying the turnover by five in the last ten years”
it’s better DA: If so, then what about Longines’ business direction this year? Or, do you remain stagnant, so to speak? WVK: No change in the business direction. Why should I change considering the success story we have? In each line, we’ve added so many additions in terms of sizes, or dials, and we’ve also killed some unsellable pieces. This year we produce 1,400,000 units, and the Master Collection alone makes up 310,000 pieces. Again, looking at the market share and the revenue, why should we change?
This year, we beefed up the ladies’ watches quite heavily in spite of the fact that the ladies’ watches already made up more than 50 percent of our business. So, we have a new DolceVita, Symphonette, PrimaLuna and, in fact, the new Equestrian is doing well. We’ve also added some novelties to our favorite Heritage collection, which is not a big business but a big pleasure. To cut a long story short, it’s all done with consistency and continuation of our policy and strategy, but we watch our market very, very closely. DA: Some brands are already gearing up by producing their own movements, which jack up the price of some of the watches, too. What’s your take on this? WVK: Once again, we want to stay in our price segment. 85 percent of our business is the three-hand (hour, minute and seconds) watches. Of course, we have chronographs, but those are not the main business. On the subject of movements, for us, we sell watches. These watches have a brand, design, price and quality, etc. We sell a final product, but we don’t sell a movement. You see the big difference? Some of my colleagues in France, they focus on the movement. I focus on the final product. And we have a lot of the exclusive movements, but we don’t talk about them. The bulk of our business is using exclusive movements, in fact, but I want to sell a final product with the design, quality and brand. DA: Do you think that the market is not asking for in-house movements? WVK: Do you think my performance is not confirming what we do is correct? We don’t want to do everything. Our competitors are mostly talking about everything and actually not doing everything. We don’t want to do that. We simply cannot do everything. DA: Last but not least, do you think the Longines company today has grown to be as how you wanted it to be? WVK: Number four in this industry! Number four! And number one in my price segment! With a very profitable market share. How else do you want the company to be? Hah! [ Laughs]