Over the last century, Longines has managed to establish itself as a pioneer in the watchmaking industry. From creating the first chronograph that could accurately time racing events in the United States to creating precision-driven timepieces for professionals across the globe, the brand has always pushed the boundaries and forged innovations that have made it a formidable name in the watch industry today.
One such innovation was the DolceVita. First introduced in 1997 as an ode to the Italian concept of ‘Dolce Vita’ or the sweetness of life, the Longines DolceVita is a classic timepiece that emulates the brand’s endeavour to create elegant timepieces for the women of today. And now, the brand has revisited its classic must-have with a few modern upgrades.
While the watch features the same rectangular watch face and elegant lines, the Mini presents an aesthetic that establishes the watch as a necessary timepiece to add to one’s collection and a bijoux accessory that’ll appeal to the sartorial woman of today.
HELLO! caught up with Longines CEO Matthias Breschan at the launch of the watch in New York to talk about the Mini DolceVita, why it’s the most elegant handpiece, what makes Jennifer Lawrence the perfect muse and much more...
HELLO!: What was the thought behind launching the Mini DolceVita?
Matthias Breschan: “For us, the next step in the DolceVita collection was to go in a direction that is more of a bijoux, jewellery piece, than the current one. We wanted to make it smaller, but we also wanted it to immediately recall the origins of these rectangular watches from the ’30s. So, when you look at the design of the DolceVita, it’s a mix of very straight lines with circular lines. And this was a combination that you saw 100 years ago even in the architecture of the time. For example, the buildings that date from this period have a combination of straight lines and round lines.
There’s also the fact that it’s not a piece that is too big or flashy. It’s discreet, it’s silent and it perfectly ties in with the quiet luxury trend we’re now seeing everywhere. The fact is that having a silent luxury watch is now the most elegant statement that you can make.”
H!: What does the DolceVita lifestyle entail and how does the new edition lend to it?
MB: “We call the whole collection DolceVita because nobody buys a watch anymore to just read time. Today, you buy into the affinity you have for a whole universe and this is what you express on your wrist. Many of us, for example, are restricted by a very strict dress code, so making a statement with a watch is the best opportunity to actually express ourselves.”
H!: Can you describe the perfect DolceVita woman? And what makes Jennifer Lawrence the perfect muse for this collection?
MB: “I think the perfect DolceVita woman has, in addition to outer elegance, an inner elegance. And this is something that Jennifer Lawrence perfectly incorporates in her DNA, which makes her the perfect face of this campaign.”
H!: Women have been key to the Longines portfolio unlike a lot of other watch brands and the DolceVita has been a marquee piece for that. Can you tell us how the division of SKUs on the brand side is thought of when planning your new collections?
MB: “Well, when it comes to the Mini DolceVita, our clientele is clearly more feminine than masculine. However, the lines are blurring these days because watches of all sizes are appealing to both men and women. For example, 20 years ago, the Italians loved big watches, today, they love small ones. But in Asia, we’re seeing the opposite. The Asian market used to love smaller watches, but now they love big ones. So it’s changing a lot and the differentiation between who is buying the watch, man or woman, no longer exists.”
H!: So then, would you also say that today people are becoming more gender fluid in terms of the timepieces that they’re creating?
MB: “Absolutely yes. I remember the Spirit 37 with the champagne dial was a watch that we sold a lot to ladies, but even in the Longines headquarters, the guy that is responsible for its product development wore only this watch for the next six months to a year.”
H!: Is there a key Longines innovation that you are really proud of, personally, or you think was very path-breaking in the watchmaking space?
MB: “You should ask me this question tomorrow (laughs). We have probably one of the most exciting events tonight for launching one of the most elegant timepieces you can imagine.”
H!: But what is the innovation behind the Mini DolceVita that you think will make it the most elegant handpiece?
MB: “Because it’s a watch that perfectly meets the consumer’s expectations for many reasons. It’s vintage-inspired, so there’s a strong link to the heritage of the brand; it’s a bijoux piece. And finally, it’s very discreet and perfectly corresponds to strength, style and luxury.”
H!: So what is the watch that you’re currently wearing and why?
MB: “I’m wearing the DolceVita. For me, it’s super complicated to pick my favourite Longines watch. In the classic collection, it’s the DolceVita and Master, whereas in the sport collection, it would have to be the Spirit Zulu. Right now, though, I love the Spirit Flyback and the Legend Diver is also one of my favourites.”
H!: Trends come and go in fashion, beauty and even watches. Have there been any instances where you’ve felt that you have had to completely change your ideology on its head to be able to attract new customers?
MB: “No, I don’t believe in jumping from one short-term trend to another. When we develop watches, we develop watches that are attractive today and continue to be attractive in 20, 50, 70, even 100 years. And that’s the beauty of watchmaking. We have to design timelesspieces and we can’t just hop onto fashion trends. Yes, we may have from time to time added a certain element or a certain strap colour that is super trendy, but the basic watch design is always timeless.”
H!: And finally, India has always been a very important market for Longines. What can we expect next from the brand for the Indian market specifically?
MB: “Well, the Indian market is developing extremely well and we have become one of the strongest growing brands over the last few years. The interest from Indian customers, particularly young customers, is increasing day by day. And I think the reason for this, according to me, is because Longines has a really rich heritage. We also have this balance of classic and sport watches. Plus, our watches are bought by men and women and that makes the brand really popular. And now, Jennifer Lawrence is going to add another dimension to this.”
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s November 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!