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29
Nov 21

Becoming a Luxury Watch Brand: A Case Study

S Michlmayr & Co specialise in working with watches from leading luxury brands, both restoring and preserving timepieces. As well as being a certified Omega Service Centre, one member of our team has been a fully accredited Rolex watchmaker since 1989 so we know a thing or two about these watch brands.

We believe that an integral part of what we do is understanding the history of watch manufacturers and the centuries of intricate craftsmanship that makes prestigious watches so special.

In this blog we delve into the past and explore how these watch companies were formed, named and how they became the luxury brands they are today.

Rolex: 

The name Rolex was coined in 1908, and created by founder Hans Wilsdorf. Although it is still unclear how the name was truly formed, what we do know for certain is that the length of the name was most important to Wilsdorf when creating his brand. This was because he had a very specific criteria on the way the name had to look on the face of a watch as well as being symmetrical in capital letters so that it would look aesthetically pleasing, one of the things that makes a luxury watch stand out from the rest. 

In addition to this, Wilsdorf was adamant that the name had to sound good in any language. In reality, a lot of thought and planning went into the name of the brand although it is said that that Wilsdorf once claimed: “One morning, while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London, a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear.” 

Rolex has always had a grand presence in the sporting industry, sponsoring events in golf, sailing, motor sports and the equestrian arenas. These prestigious events fit well with the brand’s global reputation, often associated with luxury and prestige.

Omega:

The Omega watch Company began as the small family run business ‘Louis Brandt & Frères’ founded by Louis Brandt in 1848 in La Chaux De Fonds, Switzerland. When M. Brandt passed away in 1879 his sons took over the business and shortly afterwards the company name was changed to ‘Omega’ after their 19-line Omega calibre watch.

The brand name came from the last letter of the Greek alphabet, meaning final, end or completed and it was chosen to communicate the quality of their watches. This reinforced the impression that their watches are made to the highest quality standards and shouldn’t need adjusting – they are simply ‘complete’.

Omega watches have been involved in various historic moments, helping them to achieve  the well known name they have today. In 1969 the Omega Speedmaster was worn by both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the first lunar landing mission. NASA still works closely with Omega today to create timepieces that can survive the gruelling trip into space. They have also served as the official timekeepers for the Olympics for over 20 Olympic Games since1932. 

Longines:

Longines was founded by Auguste Aggasiz and two others in 1832, but was initially known as Raiguel Jeune & Cie. Agassiz brought his nephew Ernset Francillon into the business in 1852 and by the mid 1860s, Francillon had taken over the business, changing the name to ‘Longines’ after ‘Les Longines’, the Swiss region where Francillon opened his first factory.

Longines are another brand that have become timekeepers of sporting events, with specific focus on the equestrian sports. They have been the official partners with Royal Mascots for more than 14 years. Their love for all things horse related has since been expressed in the Longines Equestrian Collections, introduced in 2015. Timekeeping of sporting events is a highly prestigious accolade, with precision being of the utmost importance for accurate results.   

Tissot:

Tissot was founded by Charles-Félicien and his son Charles-Émile in 1853, and the brand name was derived from their surname, ‘Tissot’. As their business grew, the youngest Tissot moved from Switzerland to Russia where they sold their savonette pocket watches and made a name for themselves. Naming your business after your family name shows that you take pride in the services that you offer and that you want your name to be the companies’ seal of approval.

Following the well established theme of sports event sponsorship, Tissot began by sponsoring racing cars in 1974 and have since become the official timekeepers of the International Basketball Federation, the Ice Hockey World Championships alongside many other sporting events. 

Rado:

Founded in 1917 by three brothers, Rado was first called Schlup & Co. In 1928 the brothers registered the brand name Rado, which translates as “wheel” from the Esperanto language. This translated name was better suited to the company’s avant garde products and was shorter and therefore easier to fit on the dial of a watch. Even though they had registered the Rado name in 1928, they didn’t start using it as the official brand name until 1957.

In sporting circles, Rado has become synonymous with tennis, becoming sponsors of international tournaments over 20 years ago. The Rado brand presence is stamped on the international circuit through the use of their signature clock in the corner of the clay, grass and hard courts as well as providing clocks in public areas. 

Tag Heuer:

Tag Heuer began life as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG in 1860, founded by Edouard Heuer – (Uhrenmanufaktur means ‘watch manufacturer’). In 1985, the TAG (Techniques d’Avant-Garde) Group purchased a large stake in the company and so the name was changed to ‘TAG Heuer’. Another example of a watch brand that has incorporated the surname of the founder into its brand name. 

Tag Heuer are the official timekeepers and partners at many different racing events such as Formula E, Red Bull Racing, Indy 500 and many more. They also support individual tennis and golf sportsmen and women.

Michlmayr:

Like Tissot and Tag Heuer we have also incorporated the name of our founder into our company name. We are proud to supply branded watch servicing for all the watch brands listed above and also offer repairs, refurbishments and maintenance. So if you need to get your timepiece fixed by our expert watchmakers simply get in touch with us today on 01603 403687 to see how we can help to keep your timepiece ticking over.