In the pre-cell phone era, if you wanted to know the time, you either had to
wear a watch or spend your days with someone who did. This essential accessory
was an integral part of any outfit, either sharpening it up or adding a hair of
flair. And though the necessity has become less acute, a nice watch is as much a
status symbol today as is it was in the days of the telegraph.
luxury-watch market is filled with names like Patek Philippe, Cartier and
Panerai – brands whose price tags often resemble down payments on a
For most timepiece shoppers, price plays an important role in
the decision-making process. After all, not everyone can afford a Rolex.
However, having a limited budget doesn’t rule out the possibility of a little
smart luxury. In fact, “smart luxury” is the motto for Swiss watchmaker
Originally part of the Guess lifestyle brand, GC offers beautifully
made watches for realistic prices.
Last month, GC made Israel a stop on
its new international campaign trail.
Though GC watches are available in
Israel through a variety of local distributors, this happening marked a new
level of engagement in the local market on the company’s part. In each city
visited along their path, GC hosted a party filled with local spokespeople.
These faces represent the profile of a GC customer.
up-and-coming artists in their own professions,” said Cindy Livingston,
president and CEO of GC Watches. “We like to catch these people in their own
moment of smart luxury.”
For Livingston and GC, smart luxury describes
the specific moment in a person’s career when they transition from starting out
to established. “We focus on young people who have grown out of fashion and are
ready to have a luxury piece of product, but can’t necessarily afford it yet,”
said Livingston. “We want our customers to be able to move up to high-end
But for now, we offer them beautifully made watches that follow
the trends of the high-end market.”
It is during these pivotal periods in
life that style and status are key elements for success. “A watch is a finishing
touch,” explained Livingston. “In this day and age, we’ve taken away pretty much
all forms of expression from men’s clothes; their suits and ties. All they have
left in terms of accessories are their watches, cars and cell phones. A watch is
a statement about personality.”
Livingston has been an integral member of
the GC crew since its first days. “I was the vice president of a department
store and I was in charge of all women’s accessories,” she said. “In 1981,
Swatch launched the plastic watch. They invented the category of fashion
Before then it didn’t exist. Nobody could get enough Swatch
watches. A man I knew left a jewelry company to start a watch company. He went
to Guess in 1984, got licensed, and made fashion watches in metal cases. That’s
how the company started.”
That man was Paul Marciano, founder of the
At the time, Livingston was skeptical.
She decided to
forgo Marciano’s offer to join forces.
“I waited,” she said. “He called
me that one time and told me that was the last time he would offer. I left a
very big job to go work with him. In the beginning, we wore t-shirts and shorts
to work. It was a little-bitty company.
For a while I thought maybe I had
made the wrong decision.”
Now, 15 years later, the proof of Livingston’s
decision is in the pudding, or the wheels and springs, as it were. As the
developer of GC’s international business, Livingston has been around the world
many times over. “It is absolutely fascinating to go into all of these countries
and find partners, figure out how the brand was positioned. To figure out how to
expand the company and maintain a brand image at the same time,” she
As the company grew, Livingston and her peers recognized a need to
further distinguish GC from its Guess counterparts.
“We initially called
it Guess Collection.
Seven years later, we converted it to a Swiss brand.
We decided to drop the Guess name from the brand and now it is GC.”
move to Switzerland was a definitive moment for GC, placing the brand in the
center of the international watch market.
In the coming years, GC will
complete its goal of opening 70 boutiques around the world, which will offer a
vast array of GC products, from simple day-to-day watches to diamond-encrusted
Israel, Livingston assured, is in line to receive one of
these shops. In fact, her stay in Israel included visits to potential venues for
Like most great ideas, GC was thought up during a
brainstorming session over sandwiches and coffee. “Fifteen years ago, we were
sitting around a room one day wondering what all the young people were going to
wear when they grew up. It was a conversation over lunch with a couple of people
who worked with the brands.
That’s how it all started,” Livingston said,
as she smiled. For more information about GC, visit www.gcwatches.com.