257-year-old, Richemont-owned Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin has shown a willingness to go out of its way to make sales in China, but with its newest store in Lucerne, the brand hopes to attract Chinese buyers on its home turf. Having recently unveiled its new China-facing “Métiers d‘Art – The Legend of the Zodiac 2013” collection, Vacheron Constantin hopes to take advantage of the popularity of Lucerne among Switzerland-bound Chinese tourists while enticing the city’s somewhat sizeable Chinese expat population.
While this strategy could be considered a bit of a stretch, it does make sense as roughly one-third of all Chinese visitors to Switzerland visit Lucerne and the Lake Lucerne area, making it one of the country’s top draws. Intensified marketing efforts on the part of Switzerland Tourism in China have proven successful in recent years, with the organization saying it expects the number of Chinese arrivals to increase from the current 400,000 per year to two million by 2020.
According to Daniela Baer, a spokeswoman for the Swiss National Tourist Office, luxury brands are major beneficiaries of growing Chinese tourism to Switzerland. Some of the most popular souvenirs purchased for friends and family back home by Chinese visitors include high-end watches. As such, it’s probably a smart move for Vacheron Constantin to dazzle potential buyers in China with localized Year of the Snake editions while making sure to capture these same consumers if or when they make their way to Switzerland.