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Timing key for watch branding

From CNN's Monita Rajpal

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To mark Montblanc's 100-year anniversary, the company hosted party at a replica of its namesake.

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Art of Life
Monita Rajpal

(CNN) -- When it comes to getting your branding right in the luxury watch market, nothing is left to chance.

To coincide with the launch of new designs by Swiss watch giants Montblanc and IWC, both companies hosted lavish events to unveil their newest creations.

From the glamorous, including catwalk shows and gala dinners, to the unusual, like clay pigeon shooting and flights in vintage planes, everyone's tastes were catered to.

This year is Montblanc's 100-year anniversary and to the mark the occasion, the company held a "summit meeting" in Geneva.

Named "A Flight to Mont Blanc," the watchmakers hosted 1,500 guests at a replica of the Mont Blanc summit inside an original Airbus.

Montblanc CEO Lutz Bethge has no difficulty defending such decadence.

"We were thinking about something which brings the brand back to its home and as the brand is named after Mont Blanc, we thought it would be a great idea to have a party at Mont Blanc," he told CNN.

"Now, it's very difficult to get people in a plane right and land right on Mont Blanc so we brought Mont Blanc to where we are. The important thing with these types of parties is to make people understand what the brand is all about."

And at IWC Schaffhausen, a similar level of thought has gone into these seemingly random events.

To launch the company's new Pilot's watch collection, it hosted a party inside a plane hangar at the Geneva International Airport, with the theme of 1930s and 40s, an important phase in aeronautical development.

For some guests, there was also a ride in a vintage aircraft in England.

IWC CEO Georges Kern told CNN that while the company updated its branding regularly, it always focused on the roots of the company.

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To launch IWC's new "Pilot's" watch collection, it hosted a party inside a plane hangar in Geneva.

"Luxury products have a history and need to have history if you really want to build it up to an institutional brand.

"They have a history of sometimes 100 years but you have to keep it contemporary and this is what we are doing," he said.

"Three years ago we launched diving watches, we went to Egypt, we were diving with the Cousteau Society. Last year we launched the 'Iingenieur,' and we had a driving experience on ice in Lapland, Sweden.

"But today it's about classical piloting and we thought England with Spitfires and all these planes here is the perfect environment to get this feeling through."

In relatively recent times celebrity endorsement has also become a vital part of the branding experience -- the hope being that the allure the star brings is associated with the product.

There is undoubtedly a certain irony that attempts to create credibility and plausibility are centered around events that are both fantastical and incredible.

But companies are acutely aware that if you get your branding right, in terms of profits, the sky is the limit.

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