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Updated: 2015-06-19 07:39:40

( China Daily )

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Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is sponsoring the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival. 

The art of filmmaking is all about getting the timing right - and now the best film and watch makers in the world are coming together at the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is sponsoring the festival and launched their new campaign "Open A Whole New World" at the event's opening on June 13.

The campaign promotes the brand's passion for beauty and explores the mystery of watches with short movies featuring their five brand ambassadors, including British actress and director Carmen Chaplin, who is also the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has been the official partner of the Shanghai International Film Festival since 2011. The watchmaker also funds a project to restore China's classic films and has paid to restore 10 Chinese cinema classics, including The Spring River Flows East, which was shot in the 1940s.

The latest film to be restored is A Better Tomorrow by Hong Kong director John Wu, which will be screened at this year's festival. Hong Kong director Tung-Shing Yee's New Endless Love is the latest film to be picked up by the project and it will be restored later this year.

A special edition of Jaeger-LeCoultre iconic "Rendez-Vous Moon" watch was designed especially for the film festival and was auctioned at the opening ceremony. All proceeds will go toward the restoration project.

A long-time patron of the film industry, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been the official partner of the Venice International Film Festival for almost a decade. It also sponsors films festivals in San Sebastian, Toronto, Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles.

The brand wants to be associated with an industry in which "every second bears the imprint of a moment of eternity", says Daniel Riedo, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

"In the movie industry, you try to capture important moments in life. Watch making is the same. You try to capture moments and have precision of the time," says Guillain Maspetiol, managing director of Jaeger-LeCoultre North Asia. The brand is owned by Swiss luxury giant Richemont, which also owns IWC, Montblanc and Piaget.

Jaeger-LeCoultre is best known for its glamorous, feminine watches. It's latest offering is the Rendez-Vous Ivy collection.

While the Chinese market has been male-focused for many years, it is changing, Maspetiol says.

"Women are driving a lot of the watch industry. They are the decisionmakers today, not only in China, but also all over the world. The way we portray the brand is becoming more feminine and glamorous," he says, adding that the movie industry can be a very good example with more actresses becoming directors and movie producers.

Today, about 45 percent of the brand's clients are women. More feminine products and ladies-only events are being held to cater to the growing number of female clients.

Compared to those in Europe and the United States, Chinese customers prefer rose gold and more complicated models. They also tend to be interested in more expensive watches, Maspetiol says.

Like other luxury brands, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been affected by the slowdown in China's luxury industry. However, the biggest challenge lies in the price gap between China and Europe, making Chinese customers wait for overseas trips to buy luxury products, he says.

While the rise of Swiss franc early this year has been raising the costs in Switzerland, the brand has been trying to lower the cost in China to narrow the price gap.

"All the luxury brands, not only us, are starting to focus on price positioning ... The price gap should continue to narrow. Europe may continue to increase," he says.

Although some luxury brands have closed stores in China, Jaeger-LeCoultre still sees itself in the expansion phase. Having covered first-tier cities, the brand is looking to expand to second- and third-tier cities.

"Chinese are the most important clients of the brand, whether you are talking about the country or the Chinese worldwide," Maspetiol says.

Asked about his prediction for 2015, Maspetiol says despite negative effects of the Swiss franc and the economy situation in China, 2015 will be a year of stabilization and consolidation.

"The economic growth is still there, the stock exchange is very good. There are still good signs. It's not showing signs of weakness," he says.

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