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Timepieces are messengers of time and also surpass the meaning of time keeping.LONGIO treasure a wristwatch as a beautiful work of art as well as an art of time.
, Mi Changhong, founder and chief designer, LONGIO Watch Company


Mention the word China in relation to watches and most people think of replicas of famous Swiss watch brands. But as the Chinese economy rapidly evolves, highly skilled watchmaking manufactures are beginning to evolve, developing watches that are as creative and beautifully crafted as Swiss timepieces.​

One such marque is LONGIO. Established in 1996, they manufacture parts, high quality luxury timepieces and tourbillons and have developed a solid reputation for the quality of their craftsmanship.

LONGIO will be displaying three of their rarest watches at Baselworld next month with a series known as MCH's Art of Time. There are three watches in the collection, Mythos, National Beauty and Saluzi, each designed by Mi Changhong, the founder and chief designer for LONGIO Watch Company, express Chinese legend through highly intricate fingertip craftwork.

MCH's Art of Time - LONGIO Mythos


LONGIO has become the world's first manufacture to produce a wristwatch made of pure Chinese Hotan (or Hetian) white jade - known as one of the most precious jades of all. Hetian Jade is produced in Xinjiang province, from Shache to Tashenku'ergan and from Hetian to Yuzhen.

For over 2500 years jade has served as a symbol of identity, and only nobles and high court officials were allowed to wear it. Using this top quality white jade, the watch case and bracelet are carved completely by hand by masters of the jade guild.

The elegant dial of the LONGIO MYTHOS is composed of pure black enamel which features a highly detailed 18K gold Phoenix, which was also crafted by hand under a microscope. In Chinese mythology, the phoenix (called Feng Huang) is the symbol of high virtue and grace, of power and prosperity. It represents the union of yin and yang.

A window in the dial allows a view of the Swiss made tourbillon that is used in the
LONGIO MYTHOS.

With the Mythos, LONGIO believes it has created a powerful link between mythology and mastery of timekeeping with another one of a kind horological creation.

MCH's Art of Time - LONGIO National Beauty



Limited to just 18 pieces, ‘National Beauty’ portrays hand crafted gold Peony flowers, which have the reputation of being of “national beauty and heavenly fragrance” and “the king of flowers”.

The Peony is regarded as the symbol of luck, wealth, prosperity and happiness.

LONGIO’s National Beauty timepieces feature an 18K golden red carved blooming peony on the black enamel dial, perfectly combining Chinese flower art with gold carving, enamel and other Chinese handicrafts.
MCH's Art of Time - LONGIO Saluzi



Again limited to just 18 pieces, Saluzi as the legend goes, was the war horse of Li Shimin, Emperor Taizong of Tang when he was fighting with Wang Shicong in Mangshan Mountain, Luoyang.

Li Shi Min’s brave General, General QiuHanggong, who was accompanying the Emperor, fired arrows at the enemy cavalry to keep them at bay and once back at camp proceeded to pull the arrows from the wounded Saluzi so as to save him.

Saluzi timepieces use 22K golden miniature engraving technology to portray the emotive moment when senior general Qiu Xinggong extracted the arrow from the injured Saluzi.

The watch features a rare and precious antique movement designed personally by the famous German watch creator Dürrstein in 1890. The watchcase is made of precious 18K gold.


Website: www.longiowatch.com
Article by MICHAEL WEST @ for Watchuseek
 

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Looks like Longio are branching out, and I like the result.

These watches (and the accompanying prose) are perfectly pitched for the Basel audience and should result in some signficant orders for Longio. The boost to their business will probably be mostly as designer, parts manufacturer and OEM assembler, rather than as a brand, but I think that is what suits them best i.e. to have major players in the Swiss industry saying: Let's get Longio to design the cases for our next series.

The Jade case is cool. Probably won't be a major new product for them but it surely proves their skill in working with diverse materials, which is important as they seem to be aiming to position themselves at the leading edge of case design.

And the Dials! Their dial work has picked up in the past year, and these take it to the next level. They can expect some lucrative orders out of this presentation.

As an enthusiast of Chinese watches, I find the use of European movements to be slightly disappointing in watches that otherwise so boldly proclaim their Chinese heritage. But that's just my bias. Viewed objectively, the movement choices are entirely appropriate for a company like Longio presenting themselves at Basel. These watches offer something new and exotic while reassuring the Swiss industry's collective ego regarding the one thing in which they still believe they are masters. The use of a Chinese tourbillon in this context would run the risk of the entire collection being brushed-off as 'ethnic handicrafts' by the Swissophile elite.

Really, the only thing that I would be critical of is the standard press line yet again drawing a connection between China and fakes in order to emphasise the company's separation from the lower-end of Chinese watchmaking. Once again, the wording feeds the Swiss ego: "...replicas of famous Swiss watch brands". Predictable but disappointing. So one blemish in an otherwise original and engaging presentation.

There are many ways in which Chinese watch companies can engage with the Swiss watch industry. Longio have found one particular path and they are walking it with confidence.
 

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I'm with you, Chascomm. A top of the line Chinese movement would be my preference (assuming I had the kind of money these watches will sell for). I am certain we will see watches like these in the future with state of the art and beautifully decorated movements, and who knows- maybe I'll have the cheese.




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I am certain we will see watches like these in the future with state of the art and beautifully decorated movements, and who knows- maybe I'll have the cheese.
You mean like this one?
1(24).jpg
ST8000 movement, but at a very unaffordable ¥288000....
or this

10-1202061F553434.png
ST18 movement, only ¥5800 msrp
edit: Someone at iwatch365 actually got one of the ST18 movement dragon watches, but having trouble uploading the wrist shot..
 

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Option one is definitely more than I can spend ATM. Option two, however... That I could afford.


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Alright, I'll post the wrist shot in a separate thread when that guy finial figures out how to upload images. Maybe if there is enough interest, Kevin might even be motivated to import 1 or 2 of these. The dragon dial for the ST18 one (called 福龙, or lucky dragon) is done using relief, while the ST8000K one (called 龙祥寰宇, roughly means Dragon brings fortune to the whole universe) is enamel.
 
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