Swiss Watchmaker DeWitt Makes Hong Kong Debut

Company May Need To Think Creatively To Gain Chinese Attention

At the opening ceremony of DeWitt's first Hong Kong boutique

At the opening ceremony of DeWitt's first Hong Kong boutique

Looking to target local watch lovers and well-heeled mainland Chinese tourist-shoppers, the Swiss watchmaker DeWitt recently opened the doors of its first Hong Kong boutique at the Elements shopping mall in Kowloon. Studded with precious stones, festooned with hardwood accents and lined with red carpeting, DeWitt’s new boutique is, according to company reps, inspired by the watchmaker’s museum in Satigny, Geneva. Following the grand opening event, DeWitt further marked its Hong Kong debut with a gala dinner for special guests at the W Hotel on Austin Road West.

DeWitt also took advantage of its grand opening event to debut its newest ladies’ series, “Golden Afternoon”, as well as the special “white-dial” edition of its Twenty-8-Eight Automatic, which commemorates Napoleon’s appointment as French Emperor on 28 Floréal, 1804.

The interior of DeWitt's HK boutique

The interior look of DeWitt's HK boutique

DeWitt is amongst the few remaining watchmakers that maintains the art of Guilloché using historical 18th, 19th and 20th century rose-engine machines, something that should be a draw for wealthy Chinese watch aficionados. Still, as a relatively late mover in the Hong Kong watch market, DeWitt will face stiff competition from its fellow Swiss countrymen for the Chinese yuan. As a newcomer to the market, which is populated by luxury watchmakers like Cartier, Longines, Piaget, Omega, Rolex, Hublot and others that have built reputations in China over the last couple of decades, DeWitt will have to think creatively about how to catch the eyes of Chinese consumers.

The brand’s jaw-dropping, face-giving price tags — which range from the thousands of dollars to the hundreds of thousands of dollars — and Swiss heritage are two advantages in China’s status-obsessed market, but in terms of brand promotion, DeWitt would be well suited to take a page from its competitors’ playbooks.

Having now set up shop in Hong Kong (perhaps the most popular luxury watch-buying destination for mainland Chinese tourist-shoppers), appointing a well-known Chinese brand ambassador — following the lead of Hublot, Maurice Lacroix, TAG Heuer and Cyma — and localizing collections (or increasing inventory) that caters to the current Chinese preference for classic designs, thin profiles and diamond bezels, would be good next steps for DeWitt to take.


Art & Design, Hard Luxury, Market Analysis