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Longines Watches Priced to Sell

Chinese middle class embraces affordable luxury watches

As the economy deliberately slows in China, Swatch owned Longines Watches is expected to see a dramatic increase in sales as the Chinese middle class enters the luxury watches market, many for the first time.

Longines Conquest Chronograph

Longines Conquest Chronograph

The watch market in China has always been about the high-end timepieces. This year, the forecast is that the upper class plans to be a bit more frugal with their spending. However, the new and expanding middle class is hoping to get it’s slice of the prestige pie. They’re snagging up just about any $1k + watch they can get their hands on. For Longines Watches, this sweet spot is really starting to pay off.

“The sales of luxury watches with a price tag of 50,000 yuan or above will slow this year,” Zhang Yuping, chairman and founder of Hengdeli, said in an interview yesterday. “But Longines watches will be in the sweet spot as China’s middle class takes off.”

Watches from Longines, the Swiss brand owned by Swatch Group, cost between 10,000 yuan ($1,587) to 12,000 yuan in China, making them well-positioned to reach the country’s growing middle class, according to Zhang. Hengdeli, also a distributor of the Omega and Rolex watches, expects same-store sales in China to increase 15 percent to 20 percent this year, slowing from a 30 percent gain in 2011.

That’s 20 percent growth on top of an already 30 percent explosion! The watch market is blowing up in China right now, but only as long as you have a mid range price point. The Chinese are currently moving away from owning a couple ultra-high-end luxury watches to amassing a ton of mid-range timepieces. These days, it’s all about the bulk!

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