One of the perks of the job at Retail Jeweller, it has to be said, are the fabulous events we get to go to and the friendly faces we get to meet in the watch and jewellery industry. Cue an invitation from luxury watch brand Longines, offering to whisk myself and a select group of UK press off to Rome.
The watch brand organised the three day trip to celebrate the launch of new models into its Dolce Vita collection, coinciding with the iconic film’s 50th anniversary, and the unveiling of its latest celebrity ambassador - Kate Winslet. Naturally, I had to clear my diary - one might even say it was a call of duty.
A recurring theme with my trips seems to be one of disaster. Earlier this year the plane’s air-conditioning broke down on the way to BaselWorld delaying my arrival, a motoring accident scuppered my arrival at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate when the train line was forced to temporarily close, and this time the tube workers went on strike. I eventually made it to London Heathrow - only for the plane to be delayed. Brilliant.
At this point I wouldn’t start feeling too sorry for me. I was of course on my way to spend three days in sunny Rome, staying at the five-star Hilton Cavalieri, all courtesy of the wonderful team at Longines.
It was my first time in Rome, and I wasn’t disappointed. The brand had planned an action-packed three days which involved taking in the sights and sounds of the city, a little champagne here and there, and of course the big reveal.
Kate Winslet, it has to be said, is looking amazing. Recognised globally she’ll be a great ambassador for Longines, and is well suited to the brand’s ethos, ‘elegance is an attitude’. The gaggle of press crowded into the packed conference hall seemed to agree, firing question after question at the English rose - who answered each with as much aplomb as the other.
I don’t often dine with the stars, but well, there’s a first for everything. Later that night I did just that when the brand threw a champagne reception and gala dinner at the Villa Miani, attended by the company’s guests, Longines president Walter von Känel and the watch brand’s three celebrity ambassadors Winslet, Bollywood movie star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who has represented the brand for over 10 years, and Asian film star Chin Ling Lin, who has been in her role as ambassador for six years.
The brand’s elegant new models in the Dolce Vita range were also on display. The watches are classic and sophisticated and feature rectangular cases, and come in either white gold, or a mixture of golds.
Celebrity endorsements can do a lot for both watch and jewellery brands and the bigger the star the bigger the global pull. Kate Winslet speaks to audiences the world over and I can’t think of a better choice for Longines than our very own Oscar winner.