European luxury lifestyle brands are enthusiastically embracing the passion for fine watchmaking, while adding their own creative touches as they seek to satisfy rising demand for luxury goods in Hong Kong and the mainland. A big part of that growth is coming from a desire to own a high-quality timepiece from an iconic brand such as Dior or Louis Vuitton. For example, the world's largest luxury goods maker, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced recently that third-quarter sales rose 24 per cent, as wealthy customers bought more watches and accessories. Without releasing exact numbers, the Jewellery News Network reported that LVMH said Asia was one of the top performers. 'These affluent people [in Asia-Pacific] are continuously seeking out new products and the latest items, and are very much the early adopters of high-ticket items. They are the backbone spenders in many such product categories across the region,' said Steve Garton, executive director of media at research firm Synovate, last month. Other luxury houses have also entered the market in a bid to win over savvy watch aficionados seeking branded luxury with their complications. Some have teamed up with Swiss horological experts - either in-house or in collaboration - to create timepieces that not only fit their brand image but also reflect a commitment to fine watchmaking. For example, Dior approached Concepto Watch Factory, which specialises in making complicated movements, to create its tourbillon series with sapphire crystals. Then, when it thought of creating the Mysterieuse series, it approached Geneva-based watchmaker Quinting. The result was the Dior Christal Mysterieuse (HK$170,000) with an electromechanical movement by Quinting. After deciding to create a timepiece that told the time in multiple cities around the world, Dior approached movement designers Franck Orny and Johnny Girardin to help find a unique way to realise the idea. From this came the Dior Christal 8 (HK$141,800), which is limited to 100 pieces. 'We can proudly say that all Dior timepieces are genuine crafts made by Dior. We hope that through these numerous collaborations we have created something completely original,' a Dior spokesman says. Dior differentiates itself from other brands by being experimental. 'This is because we're always experimenting with new techniques and materials, some of which have never been seen before.' At Louis Vuitton, which entered the luxury watch market with gusto in 2002, in-house designers were used to creating unique movements. 'Our designers at the Louis Vuitton workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds pooled their talents to develop the Spin Time calibre and the LeVel Up crown stem lifting system,' a spokesman says. The Tambour Spin Time Automatic (HK$369,000) is an exclusive movement based on a new way of reading the time whereby hours are readable on the rotating cubes/cylinders and minutes on the hand. The Tambour Spin Time Joaillerie (HK$545,000), a woman's version in white gold, displays the hours in diamonds and the minutes with a hand designed to resemble a pen nib. The dial is either set with black and white diamonds or finished in a deep black lacquer. The effect is a sky studded with stars, a playful reference to the Louis Vuitton monogram. Montblanc, known for its writing instruments, leather, eyewear and fragrances, entered watchmaking 10 years ago. In 2008, its first calibre was developed in-house to power the Montblanc Star Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph red gold limited edition (HK$226,700). 'It makes us very proud to add a further milestone to the success story of Montblanc,' CEO Lutz Bethge says. The concept of lifestyle brands partnering Swiss horology is new, but it is sure to gain momentum.