Filipinos embrace Swedish designer watches

It is Swedish and it is on show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
But you can also buy it.
For example in a trendy shopping mall in Manila or Bangkok.
Or in the US as stars like Robbie Williams, Will Smith and Brian Cox have done.
And it will not cost you a fortune.
     Axcent of Scandinavia has achieved exactly this with its strikingly designed series of watches.
     The brand was launched in the Philippines last summer and in Bangkok just before Christmas 2004.
     “There was great response from consumers when the items were made available in our first Watch Republic shop in Manila,” says marketing and pr manager Zara Dahlbäck.”We expanded fast. The brand is today available all over metro Manila. It has caught the eye of local celebrities as well. For example do actress and singer Vina Morales, TV hosts and actresses Kris Aquino and Peralejo wear Axcent of Scandinavia. Haparanda, Broadband and Frost are the most popular models there.”
     Malaysia and Singapore are Axcent of Scandinavia’s next markets in South East Asia, likely to see the watch on sale this year.
     First out in Asia was Hong Kong a year ago.
     It was followed by Korea and the Philippines last summer.
     Then came China, Japan and Taiwan last fall.
     The order of market entry in Asia was decided by practical terms, where Axcent of Scandinavia first found good distributors.
     “We sell through distributors in each country. Not by own stores or anything like that. It is impossible to establish a brand successfully in a market unless you have the experience and expertise our distributors have. They then sell to a selected network of retailers and stores,” explains Zara Dahbäck.
     What expectations have you got from the Asean markets this year and when will you launch in Malaysia and Singapore?
     “I have not yet a launch date for the two latter countries but we have a continuous dialogue with potential distributors there. We strongly believe in Asia. Response is great. Our concept fits very well into markets as these, with a high degree of fashion awareness, with people who like to match their dresses with accessories.”
     The company was established 1996 in Stockholm by Ayad Al-Saffar.
     He began to build the brand together with students from the National College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack) in Sweden, following Axcent of Scandinavia’s motto ‘when art becomes a timepiece without costing a fortune’.
     This tradition continues.
     Each year Konstfack students come up with design proposals for Axcent of Scandinavia.
     The best are selected by Axcent of Scandinavia and put into watch production.
     How do you position the brand in the four Asean countries?
     “It is based on our successful motto. This includes added value like Scandinavian design, fashion, quality and affordable pricing. The idea is that the watch is a fashion accessory, not just a timekeeper, which can match your bag, your shoes or just your mood. And then you need more than one!” says Zara Dahlbäck.
     That this watch is a favourite accessory among a number of world celebrities like Robbie Williams and Will Smith has of course helped the brand to be further recognized.
     “Our watches are worn by rock stars, models, actors and celebrities from Hollywood as well as Bollywood. We have participated in several Hollywood movie productions, like ‘X-Men 2’ where Brian Cox wears a ‘Göteborg’ and in ‘I Robot’ where you see ‘Rocker’, ‘Slip On’ and ‘Flexible Pace’, not by product placement but because the movie companies have paid us for the watches.“
     And now it is time for Malaysian, Singaporean and Thai stars, and their fans, to get a taste of the daringly designed timepieces from Sweden.

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