Longines’ president Walter Von Kanel says that the brand will continue to battle against factories in China and Thailand that are churning out fake copies of its watches, but says the situation “is improving”.
Von Kanel told Cambodia’s leading English newspaper The Phnom Penh Post that the brand is facing two battles: that of abuse of the brand name and the second being the copy of its watch designs.
At present about 50% of the brand’s sales are in the Far East, but Longines is regularly copied by factories that sell modified or counterfeit watches in markets and retail stores.
Von Kanel told the paper: “The whole industry, especially the brands under Swatch Group, is fighting very heavily.
“The first battle is with the manufacturers, and we have caught someone every week. There are two big manufacturing countries, China and Thailand. In China, we have to find them, and then the police will come in.”
Von Kanel added that “internal police” have caught retailers selling fake Longines in Cambodia and Vietnam, and says that wholesalers have added to the problems.
“Things are improving, but we have lots of battles here. But remember that they only copy the successful brands; they will never copy unknown brands,” he added.
Von Kanel also said that the economic crises across the world had had “no effect whatsoever right now” on Longines’ sales.
“During 2008 and 2009, Longines moved forward in our price segment. According to our January and February 2012 figures, Greece sales are actually higher than 2011,” he told the newspaper.
“The Swiss global export for January 2012 was 15 per cent higher than last year. We are in a very lucky brand, very lucky industry and very lucky group.”