Longines A La Dolce Vita
In a celebration of the sweet Italian life and an enduring partnership, Longines launches new Dolce Vita models in Rome.
Just as the sun set, bathing Rome in a warm glow, press and guests were welcomed by Longines at the grand Villa Aurelia, a 16th century mansion overlooking the Italian capital city, in a true celebration of the Italian sweet life—better known as the “Dolce Vita”. The evening marked the launch of new models joining the Longines Dolce Vita family, an emblematic collection for the brand since its creation in 1997. To mark the occasion, the brand also invited special guest and Ambassador of Elegance, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their partnership.
Walter Von Känel, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Matthieu Baumgartner © WorldTempus/Joy Corthésy
For Walter Von Känel, CEO of Longines, the Dolce Vita collection was both an evident step forward for his brand and a way to distinguish themselves in the market. “In my 50 years at this company—31 as part of upper management—the Dolce Vita collection has been a product that has marked a certain number of decisions,” says Känel.
“The first was that it had to symbolise our motto, ‘Elegance is an attitude.’ The second point for this collection was for it to be very good value for money. We wanted to make an active push on the notion of elegance, so we got rid of certain sports models, such as cycling or automotive sports, to focus on more ‘elegant’ sports, like equestrian sports, gymnastics, or alpine ski,” he continued.
In an effort to continue that pursuit for elegant watches offered a fair price point, Longines has added two new dial variations, a white dial and a blue starry night dial that closely resembles aventurine, a larger 47mm case size, as well as interchangeable straps. While the metal bracelet needs to be changed at a Longines boutique or retailer, the calf leather straps, available in eight bright colours, can easily be purchased and changed on your Dolce Vita to suit every mood.
© WorldTempus/Joy Corthésy
Leather straps © WorldTempus/Joy Corthésy
As an actively involved leader, Känel makes it a point to have a continuous dialogue with the heads of sales from each market Longines is available in order to take the pulse of his clientele. That’s how the larger case model of the Dolce Vita, equipped with an automatic model compared to its quartz counterparts, came about—a way to include a more typically masculine clientele in a women’s collection. “When I was in Paris, our head of sales there said to me, ‘Chief, I need a bigger model of the Dolce Vita!’ Men in the Chinese market wanted it with an automatic movement and bigger. And in the very beginning our first advertising campaigns for the collection had Humphrey Bogart wearing the Dolce Vita,” said Känel.
He continues, “But it’s also indisputable that there is a rise in the trend for bigger models for women. And different markets dictate this; the Chinese woman won’t wear the same watch as a Russian woman. And in the European market, sizes vary between small and medium.”
The launch in Rome was also a chance to celebrate an enduring partnership with philanthropist and actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who joined the company as their Ambassador for Elegance 20 years ago. Having starred in the first TV ad campaign for the Dolce Vita collection in the late 90’s, Rai Bachchan was entirely at home in the Italian landscape with the brand, and took the opportunity to reflect on the past two decades in the Longines family.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan © WorldTempus/Joy Corthésy
“When I was first approached by Longines 20 years ago, they had at the time Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart as brand representatives, and I was just starting out my career as an actor,” said Rai Bachchan. “I was extremely humbled and consider myself very privileged and honoured to be in such fine company. And the moment I heard their motto was ‘Elegance is an attitude,’ that resonated with me. I see myself saying and standing for that because I believe that. I believe elegance is innate and that you exude it; it’s from inside out,” she continued.
As a surprise during speeches, Känel announced a special limited edition of the Dolce Vita with a diamond-set rose gold case and white mother-of-pearl and turquoise blue dial to honour the partnership to Rai Bachchan. In a clear moment of friendship that had developed over years, Känel presented the number 5 to Rai Bachchan on stage, to which she said, “20 years is a very long time. I remember at the first press conference [Känel] told me, ‘You’ll see, this is going to be a long partnership.’ And in my head, I was thinking three or five years. Who would’ve thought 20 years? It’s a company with which I’ve shared all of my personal and professional accomplishments with so far. It’s been like a family; they’ve been a part of all my experiences, it’s not just when I come to a Longines event. And that’s personally very special for me.”
And Känel, with a smile, declared, “To 20 more years with the Dolce Vita!”
Longines Dolce Vita Elegance Celebration - Limited Edition © WorldTempus/Joy Corthésy
Based in St. Imier since 1832, Longines has a long tradition in watchmaking, characterised by the elegance of its watches. Using expertise gained as the company has evolved, Longines has gradually forged ties with the world of sport, where it demonstrates its excellence in precision timekeeping. Today, Longines is the oldest brand still in business, unchanged, in the international registers held by the World Intellectual Property Organization...Find out more >
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