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24 January 2013 14:55
Game Plan

Having a strong presence in sports gives luxury watch brands an edge.

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Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo with his Franck Muller Perpetual Calendar Bi-Retro Chronograph CR7, a limited-edition piece designed by the watchmaker just for him.

It used to be the usual suspects who would be involved in sports sponsorships: Rolex traditionally made its presence felt in yachting, tennis and golf — and now, Formula 1. Omega had its repeated Olympics sponsorships — 25 and counting — while TAG Heuer has been a co-driver with motorsports firms for more than a century.

But a new phenomenon is fast catching on: More and more watch brands are jumping into bed with sports personalities, teams and associations. Even those with no sporting links in history are
giving it a go.

Take Bulgari for instance. It’s a storied jewellery and fashion brand that focuses on beautiful architectural designs and top-notch craftsmanship for its jewellery and watches. Never since its birth in 1884 has it been even remotely linked to the highly charged arena of sports. But in 2011, it surprised the industry by announcing its partnership with the New Zealand national rugby team to promote its Endurer Chronosprint All Blacks Special Edition. It may not be a regular branding tack from Bulgari, but the move does present the brand to new audience.

It’s really not hard to see why many watchmakers think along the same vein. Sports sponsorship works like a media investment. Flash a company’s name or logo on television, in press or through the social media repeatedly, and these impressions will subconsciously sear the brand awareness and corporate identity in people’s mind. That eventually leads to a surge — a stratospheric jump, if strategised properly — in global sales...

For the full story, read the November issue of Style:Men (#41).For the full story, read the November issue of Style:Men (#42).

Text Terence Lim

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