Many people will think of the cycling team and Gerrard Butler when it comes to Festina watches. Festina watches are trendy in Europe. But to think of it, is Festina a luxury watch brand?
Festina is not a luxury watch brand but an affordable, entry-level brand, similar to Fossil or Invicta. It primarily uses third-party movements and does not claim to have a high degree of hand assembly on its watches. Festina watches also do not cost more than $500 on their website.
In this article, we will examine in detail how fitting Festina is with a luxury watch status. We also discuss if Festina is a quality watch brand, and also if they are Swiss Made.
What Makes A Luxury Watch Brand Different?
In general, luxury watchmakers distinguish themselves from more affordable, everyday watchmakers in the following ways:
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
READ MORE: What Makes A Watch A Luxury Watch?
Materials: Luxury watchmakers frequently use higher-quality materials for their watch parts. Instead of 316 stainless steel, you might see more expensive metals like bronze, titanium, or 18K gold. Top-grain leather and diamonds are also commonly used in luxury watches.
Assembly: Luxury watchmakers frequently hand-assemble their watches in-house instead of relying on automation or outsourcing the task to outside contractors. The more expensive the watch, the more hand assembly it receives. This enables them to ensure that their watches meet high-quality standards.
In-House Movements & Technology: Luxury watchmakers frequently develop their own movements to ensure better performance and accuracy. There is also a propensity to develop proprietary technology to improve their watches. To save money, regular and low-cost watchmakers frequently use movements from other companies.
Design: Iconic and well-known designs are standard among luxury watchmakers. These designs can also serve as a model for future watches designs in the same category. The Rolex Daytona, for example, has become a benchmark for all chronograph watch designers and builders to strive for.
Homages: It is common to see homages to models from high-end watchmakers. Homages exist to serve customers who want the original but cannot afford the price. It is a good option for these people because homages are made to look like the original but not to the point of being an exact copy.
ALSO READ: What Are Homage Watches?
Fakes: In the luxury watch market, fakes are common. These illegal clone/fake/imitation watches are frequently sold as replicas. Only luxury watches are cloned because they are costly and out of reach for many people. Regular watch models are rarely cloned because the profit margin is so small that the fake watchmakers’ time isn’t worth it.
Image: Luxury watch brands frequently project an image of prestige, class, exclusivity, and, of course, luxury. They cultivate this image by associating with and sponsoring individuals, events, and media that project similar images.
As a result, Rolex sponsors numerous tennis tournaments, and IWC watches can be found on the wrists of Formula One drivers. You may also see Patek Philippe placing advertisements in the Wall Street Journal.
READ MORE: Affordable Watches That Look Like Rolex
Prices: Luxury watchmakers frequently charge exorbitant prices for their timepieces. The idea is to position their watches as ‘aspirational’ items, expensive, and only accessible to those who have achieved success in life.
This also helps to keep the brand exclusive. A higher profit margin also enables watchmakers to conduct premium marketing campaigns, strengthening their brand image.
Is Festina Watch Brand Luxury?
Festina cannot be seen as a luxury watch brand. It does not use its own watch movements, nor does it use premium material in its watches. The watch designs are not iconic enough, nor are they expensive to be ‘aspirational’ timepieces. Festina is best seen as an entry-level watch, similar to Fossil or Invicta.
Festina watches do not appear to be using premium materials in most of their watches. Only a small number of watches are made with more premium materials such as ceramic or diamonds. Not all models receive sapphire crystal as well.
This makes sense as the watches are not expensive to start with. This means the watch cannot use premium materials, or they will lose money.
Festina does not claim to perform hand-assembly on their watches, which makes sense since the watches are not expensive.
Affordable watches tend to rely much more on robotic assembly to ensure a large amount is produced. When large amounts of watches are produced, the economics of scale kicks in, allowing the watchmaker to still make a profit on their watches despite selling them cheap.
However, with automation comes quality issues. Robotic assembly can never match hand assembly in quality and precision.
Many of Festina’s watches also are not Swiss Made. Only a tiny part of Festina’s watches carry the ‘Swiss Made’ label on the dial. Of the 285 models of men’s watches available on their website, only 25 are Swiss Made watches.
To be able to claim a watch to be ‘Swiss Made,’ the watch has to:
- Have 60% of its production in Switzerland.
- Use a Swiss movement.
- Be encased and inspected in Switzerland.
In-House Movements and Technology
Festina does not use its own movement but instead relies on third-party manufacturers’ movements. Festina also does not seem to be the pioneer of any unique, in-house watch technology.
It is known that many Festina watches use automatic and quartz movements from Citizen, with Swiss-made models using ETA movements.
This means Festina focuses only on design and does not place much effort in developing its own movement and watch technology.
Festina’s design is excellent, with multiple design styles that fit many tastes. You have classic, simple designs that are timeless and great-looking divers. You also have gold-plated watches that look luxurious but with great pricing.
However, these designs are not iconic, nor do they stand out enough to be noticed from far. Festina’s models are not as distinguishable from watches such as those from Rolex, Hublot, or Richard Mille.
Festina’s lack of design uniqueness and affordable price makes it unattractive to be made into homages by other watchmakers.
Watches with homages are usually priced expensively and then carry a unique design that makes them special in the eyes of many. Many wanted the watch but could not afford the original, so they looked for the homage instead.
Festina’s models cannot fulfill both of the requirements. Hence it does not seem to have homages made after it.
In fact, some of Festina’s models look like a homage instead. Some of Festina’s models carry the look of Rolex GMT and Tag Heuer Monaco.
Festina watches also do not seem to be widely counterfeited. This made sense because their watches aren’t very expensive to start with.
Making and selling fake watches takes a lot of work, time, and money, so many counterfeiters, make replicas of high-end luxury models like Rolex and Patek Philippe. This helps them make more money.
You still need to pay attention when you buy a watch because there might be fake ones on the market, and you don’t want to get caught.
Festina watches carry an image of affordability, with great design and good performance. Since it mainly sells quartz watches, it also carries an image of easy maintenance.
Festina is also dubbed the ‘European’ Casio. They seem to occupy the same market range of entry-level, rugged, and reliable watches.
These are good brand images, but they are not commonly associated with luxury watches. Luxury watches are expensive, exclusive, and are a status symbol.
Festina’s pricing reflects its status as an entry-level watch brand. None of the 285 models of watches for men are available on their website. None are over $500.
On the website, the most expensive model is the $485 Festina Black Chronograph Special Edition F20329/1. The watch runs an analog quartz movement with a chronograph function. It comes with sapphire crystal and 100M water resistance.
The most affordable model for men is the Blue Classic with Leather Strap F20446/2, around $75.
Is Festina A Good Brand?
Festina is a good brand. Festina watches are made with high-quality standards powered by high-quality quartz and automatic movements from Japan and Switzerland. It is also rugged, easy to maintain, and comes with a two-year warranty.
Festina can be viewed as Europe’s own version of Casio. It carries a similar brand image and occupies similar market space in the world of watches.
Festina is affordable with great design and is rugged. Its quartz movement also made it easy to maintain and care for.
Is Festina Made In Switzerland?
Festina does have models made in Switzerland, although most of their watches are probably made in Asia. Festina watches that are Swiss Made will show a ‘Swiss Made’ label at the 6 o’clock position on the watch dial.
With low pricing, it is no surprise that they manufacture their watch in East Asia. Manufacturing costs are lower, and many manufacturers have enough experience to produce quality watches.
These watches do not qualify for the ‘Swiss Made’ label, as more than 60% of their production is outside Switzerland. Plus, these watches are likely to be using Chinese or Japanese movements.