Longines rides into town and saddles up for International Races

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am


Swiss watchmaker Longines will take over as the main sponsor of the Hong Kong International Races from Cathay Pacific.

Longines president Walter von Kanel was at the Happy Valley racecourse on Wednesday to announce his company's new role as title sponsor and official timekeeper of the meet on December 9.

Top models Lisa Selesner, Sharon Chan, Balia Chan, and Ana Rivera, who were at the ceremony, wore hats and Longines watches.

Longines, a subsidiary of the Swatch Group, celebrates its 180th anniversary this year. It has been a staunch supporter of sports including gymnastics, skiing, tennis, and archery, but it has a special affinity for all things equine.

Kanel said that back in 1878, Longines had produced a chronograph with an engraving of a jockey and his horse on the back case. And Longines has been keeping time for horse racing in America since 1881.

The Swiss, Kanel said, were great horse lovers, adding that 'equestrianism is an elegant sport matching our global concept that elegance is an attitude'.

Kanel himself was an avid runner, cross-country skier and even served as a precision shooter in the Swiss army. 'Now being slightly over 70, I am happy to go walking with my dogs. It keeps me busy,' he said.

Though Kanel can't remember his first watch, he believes he got his first Longines watch when he entered the army. 'My girlfriend, who is now my wife, bought me my watch because she was working for Longines at that time.'