Federico Iguzzini making their mark in China

The Chinese luxury landscape is expanding at a rapid pace, with luxury houses investing more dollars and resources to have their brand prominent around the country.

European fashion houses and popular US brands are popping up at record levels to fall in line with the hefty spending power of Chinese consumers.

The MO Down was in China earlier this year and attended The 3rd Prestige Brands Forum, where bounced around was the question, “When will China have its own luxury brand?” We no doubt are thinking that we will see a Chinese luxury brand hit the marketplace within the next few years, but China does have one luxury brand ticking (pardon the pun) away quite nicely.

Federico Iguzzini is China’s oldest luxury brand, starting in 1903 in Shanghai.

The company was established by Federico Iguzzini – a young Italian entrepreneur inspired by Matteo Ricci – the Italian Priest who introduced timepieces in China for the first time in the late 16th century.

There is something about the China/Italy relationship and pioneering, isn’t there a little Marco Polo ring to this story, albeit a few centuries earlier ..!

Federico Iguzzini produced timepieces for the elite of the region until it was unfortunately shut down when China closed itself to the world for the rest of the century. The company was revived by principals, the Michel brothers, just a few years ago and their first products were launched at the end of 2009 with great success.

They are a niche company, specialising in limited edition collections with innovative designs and concepts, fitting in nicely with the word ‘luxury’. All the core components and parts, including movements are made in Switzerland and then further customised, assembled and detailed by staff in Federico Iguzzini’s workshops.

Whilst the luxury houses continue to push their brands through media advertising, Federico Iguzzini’s has opted for the company to be promoted purely through word-of-mouth, working with the loyal clients they already have and stayed small by choice.

The luxury watches are just that, ‘luxury’. With only limited lines with 10-50 pieces in each collection, you are guaranteed a rare timepiece. The company also creates one-off pieces for their clients as well, ranging from $US4,000 – $US20,000.

The company uses the brand line “Changing the World Through Time.” This allows the watch company to create awareness through their products and to donate most of their profits to charitable organisations around the world, which The MO Down applauds.

Image credit: Federico Iguzzini, Lander and Stephane Michel

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