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WATCH ME: “They told me to wait for the music but I enjoy breaking rules,” said Kate Winslet as she stepped into view without waiting for her cue at a dinner celebrating a collaboration between Longines and Swiss leather goods label Yvy at the Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping equestrian event.
“They were maybe afraid I’d start to sing,” quipped Longines chief executive officer Matthias Breschan, introducing the British actress and the watchmaker’s “ambassador of elegance” for over a decade.
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Before guests took their seats facing the Eiffel Tower, Winslet deemed the equestrian Longines Dolcevita x Yvy design to be the brand’s “sexiest timepiece ever,” and marking “the beginning of an exciting new chapter, [one] that embraces a more respectful world [which] means to be your true self” at a time where there is “no defining line between the masculine, the feminine.”
The launch of this collaboration felt like a natural extension of the Swiss watchmaker’s involvement with horse-riding competitions, Breschan explained.
With luxury booming in the U.S., which has become the brand’s primary market, and despite the uncertainty brought by the war in Ukraine and the pandemic-related disruptions in China, Breschan explained earlier in the day that he still expected 2022 to be a record year. Longines is on a trajectory to pass the 2 billion Swiss francs mark in 2025.
Courtesy of Longines
Calling a watch “the most important accessory you can wear on your wrist” as it enables “[making] a statement even when submitted to a dress code,” Breschan said the collaboration was part of its double-pronged strategy to further develop both its technical and aesthetic heritage to preserve its competitive edge in the 1,000 to 5,000 Swiss francs segment.
Zürich-based leather designer Yvonne Reichmuth, who founded Yvy in 2013 and draws on architecture for her work, took cues from horse-riding equipment, especially the moving parts of bridles and harnesses.
“We wanted a subtle reference to the equestrian world while giving the possibility of having either a classic watch or making more of a fashion statement,” she said, demonstrating how the double strap design could be adjusted with the slide of a strap and opening of a snap.
She had been interested in the watch industry, but opportunities were scarce for designers hailing from the German-speaking side of the country. “I loved the industry but never thought about [working in watches]. It was more of a French-Swiss thing. So this is a bit of a dream come true,” she said.