Longio Tourbillon Watches and Dive Watches - Hope of Chinese Watch-Making廊桥表—中国制表的希望 By Amily Hahn
In minds of western people, Chinese prefer copying top-class watches made in Switzerland and other regions of the world than building up its own watch brands. It is true that 90% replica watches in the world are made in China. And it is not a secret in watch circles that many watch-makers(including not a few high-end watch manufacturers) equip their watches with parts of Chinese origin. Take Tianjin Seagull (a Chinese watch company established in 1995) for example, it is well known within watch industry as it is one of the world’s leading mechanical movement manufacturers.
As know to all, adult Chinese people attach great importance to “face”. They wear foreign-made watches if possible or they adorn their wrists with replica watches inspired by famous brands, otherwise they will wear jewelry or nothing on the wrists. However, in a world that has endless desire for watches (especially high-end watches), some Chinese find that there is a space between the long-established luxury watches from Europe and high-tech watches made in Japan. They devote themselves to making whole watches of relatively low prices and try to make this industry mature.
Here introduces some excellent Chinese-made watches. First comes two newest tourbillon watches (SG3824 and SG3826) from Longio, a Chinese watch company specializes in manufacturing dive watches and tourbillon watches. Obviously, they both are greatly influenced by Chinese art and Architectural style. They may bring something different to people are familiar with European-made watches. For me, I really love the look of SG3826.
I have never seen similar case design on European watches. It is good to have their own features rather than following suits blindly. The overall finishing is not half bad, though I feel it has a certain gap from European watches. Compared with European movements(in terms of performance, construction and accuracy), there is still some way to go for the used tourbillon movements. Though they are much cheaper than European tourbillon watches, they are not actually cheap pieces. The SG3826, in particular, asks for about 9500 US dollars.
And here is the newest diver chronograph watch(SG3762) presented also by Longio. This dive watch looks quite contemporary. And we can see some trace of world-class diver watch features on it either from the bezel design and the the layout of the dial. The watch crown and pusher buttons are very interesting, so are the central links of bracelet. And Longio seems to be little customized: the glass offers choices of sapphire crystal and mineral crystal; the dial is available in white, blue and black. The same, this watch is not as refined as European watches in surface treatment and detailed cuts. However, it is the understated looking that appeals some western customers. The dive watch is water resistant to 100 meters.
It is hard for Chinese to catch up with European watch-making(as least it will take quite a long time) as European watch brands keep growing and making breakthroughs at the same time. But it is important to take the first step. Chinese watch-makers will take mid-priced market and relatively low-priced markets as their targeted markets in a long term.
It seems that Chinese watch-makers (including Longio) ignore Chinese market and sell their products overseas. However, there is a constant rise of watch demands in mainland China. In my poor opinion, it is stupid to ignore a market of 1.3 billion on its motherland though Chinese do love foreign-made watches. In this case, Chinese watch-makers should firstly create a awareness that it is matter of pride to wear a Chinese-made watch and conquer the hearts of Chinese consumers with novel designs, high quality and competitive prices. Secondly, Chinese watch-maker should attach great importance to branding which has long been a soft spot of many Chinese companies. Thirdly, it is time for Chinese watches to begin a marketing campaign all over the world. Make themselves heard, known and sought after.
Last but not least, most Chinese watch websites are poorly designed and give people an impression of low-quality. For the sake of brand image, Chinese watch makers should improve its website while improving watch quality. Witnessed Chinese-made car being sold in US dealers, we hope Chinese-made watches find their place in watch industry. It is a matter of time and it is not only a matter a time.
2009 By Amily Hahn