Golden Opportunities for luxury Watches in China

According to a report published by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, last year the strongest growth in more than five years appeared for Luxury watch exports. Mainland China and Hong Kong are the top two markets for Luxury watches, with sales in mainland China reaching 11 percent of the market.

Luxury Watches are the new trend for rich consumers

According to a survey, to top reasons that consumers wear watches are: “to bring out one’s personal taste and image” (50%), “a liking for watches” (48%), “as an accessory” (48%) and “time telling” (40%). A considerable number of respondents agreed that “wearing a watch would give an impression of maturity, stability and punctuality to others”, or that “wearing a watch would give a better image on business occasions”.

The 2012 crackdown on corruption in China impacted the luxury watch market. The Chinese government is doing efforts to bring luxury spending back to mainland China and it seems to be working. However, independent of external factors, Swiss luxury watches remain hugely popular in China. A colloquialism illustrates how important luxury watches are among Chinese elites. The Chinese phrase ”穷玩车, 富玩表”literally translates as “the poor play with luxury cars while the rich play with luxury watches.”

What are the five most popular luxury watches brands in China?

Chinese consumers have developed their own taste and became more demanding in terms of watches design.

1) Longines

The luxury watch brand Longines founded by Auguste Agassiz in 1932 is based in Saint-Imier, Switzerland and is owned by the Swatch Group. The watch brand has a winged hourglass logo, registered in 1889, which is one the oldest and still-active registered trademark in the world. Longines is promoting its products in China through brand ambassadors, such as Aaron Kwok, Lin Chi-ling, Carina Lau or Eddie Peng.

2) Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe, founded in Geneva in 1839, is a relatively new brand for many Chinese consumers. The brand opened its first China flagship on Shanghai in 2005. It created products according to Chinese tastes or related to their culture. For example, Patek Philippe created a special edition Panda Table Clock using traditional Chinese enamel-work.


3) Omega

Omega was founded in 1848 in Biel, Switzerland. The brand is working closely with Chinese celebrities to market its products. For example, the brand has hired Zhang Ziyi, Liu Shishi and Coco Le as its Chinese ambassadors.


4) Piaget

The brand Piaget, founded in 1874 by Georges Piaget, is very popular in China, with more than 30 stores around the country. The brand is also creating special edition of luxury watches to cater to Chinese customers. Last year, Piaget launched a zodiac-themed in honor of the Lunar New Year.


5) Rolex

Rolex, founded in 1905 in Switzerland, is the most well-known luxury watch brand in China. According to Chinese tradition, the Rolex’s round face shape is deemed auspiciousness and its golden crown logo symbolizes statues and power. The brand is working with Chinese ambassadors, such as Lang Lang, Li Yundi or Yujia Wang.


How to promote your watch in China?

Use Social Media

Chinese consumers have been too much harassed by commercials offers and ads, so you need to think differently than your competitors. Wechat is not an easy social media where you can promote your brand. You can rely on Wechat to spread your content. You can first give an attractive content to your audience by not only sharing too much commercial content, which won’t convey a nice image to your audience. You have to communicate about the universe you evolve in. For example, give some content talking about watch history and how/where they are made, and if it is Switzerland, then talk about the country and culture, give some luxury tips and content about elegance and harmony. Then, you can diffuse your content in strategic groups and influencers where you will have more visibility.

Key Opinion Leaders and influencers

The prevalence of social media use among Chinese consumers has given rise to a large pool of digital influencers. Consequently, since few years, KOLs became a real part of the influencer marketing. They are numerous and powerful. KOLs can be found on platforms like WeChat, Weibo, QQ, Miaopai, Douyin, Inke and more. They are everywhere, and the number is growing. Take Weibo as an example, the number of influencers with more 100,000 fans increased by 57.3% from 2016 to 2017. They have created a viral content and developed a community around them. They have a lot of followers because their content is quality and knowledgeable. The power of KOLs need to be understand if you want to do business in China. Working together with them can help create significant buzz for your company or your products.

Little Red Book

Xiaohongshu also called “Little Red Book” is a Chinese start-up specializing in e-commerce. It is an application of social e-commerce created in 2013 by Charwlin Mao. It provides its users with a platform to buy products, share shopping tips, and promotional offers. The principle of the application is simple: the objective is to form partnerships with foreign brands mainly originating in the United States, Japan and Korea and then to market them on the Chinese territory. The target heart of the app is a female target in search of the best deals. The segments bearing on the application mainly concern beauty products and ready-to-wear. This app has already more than 60 million registered users and half-year sales of 700 million yuan (around $109 million) as of the end of September. Little Red Book reflects a great combination of similar tools of Tmall and Weibo platforms, which makes this app a generator for word-of-mouth marketing.



The revolution of online to offline knows a certain success. The space between online gateway and real and physical store offline seems to be tighter than ever. If you are a luxury watch brand, then you have to keep in mind that in-store experience for the customer is really important.

We are a digital marketing agency and we have developed many successful e-commerce projects because we know how to effectively promote your e-commerce business in China by using the latest digital tools. At this stage of development, China has a lot of booming industries. This is a promising and huge market with its own culture and way to function. Do you want to start a business in China? Do not hesitate to contact us!

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  1. Hello,
    We are a new App for social ecommerce and we want to get in touch with European and americain brands of Watch , how can we contact them ?

  2. Dear Sir / Madam
    I have the most beautiful exquisite & glorified luxury watches to offer

    Patek Phillip

    I would appreciate the opportunity to share pictures & video

    All stock in Belgium

    Kindest regards
    Ian Bank

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