Mistral Timepieces Since 1989

16 May 2024

In the latter part of 1989, when windsurfing peaked and Mistral commenced license agreements, Mistral-branded timepieces would form the inventory backbone of Argentinian start-up company WatchLand S.A., in addition to Casio, G-Shock, Baby-G, and Edifice.

WatchLand S.A. identified the potential of the trend-driven, profitable watch market and sought a distinctive watersports brand to target a specific audience. Mistral, deeply rooted in windsurfing, a dynamic, vibrant, all-inclusive sport, was the perfect match for waterproof timepieces. This partnership blended aspirational adventure-based lifestyles, bold colours, and fashion statements, creating a unique product offering. Today, WatchLand S.A. Mistral timepieces combine digital watches and Japanese quartz movement waterproof timepieces for both men and women, offering a blend of functionality and style.

When Mistral was founded in 1976, the popularity of LED and LCD digital timepieces was at its zenith, casting doubt on the future of mechanical watches. Casio, a Japanese giant established in 1970, had revolutionised timekeeping with the world's first electronic watch in 1974. This innovation set the stage for the launch of the G-Shock in 1983 and the Baby-G Shock for women in 1994.

The landscape was transformed, leading to a downturn in the Swiss watch industry. Once 76,000 strong, the workforce was reduced to 30,000, sparking a counterattack primarily by esteemed Swiss watchmakers and Japanese manufacturers between 1976 and 1989. Brands shifted their focus to quartz-driven timepieces, a technology ironically first introduced commercially in 1969 by Japanese manufacturer Seiko. This period marked a significant shift from electronic-driven watches, with WatchLand S.A. playing a pivotal role in this resurgence.

Notably, the Swiss brand Swatch, founded in 1983, would dominate the market by setting a new fashion trend with quartz-driven watches featuring seasonal pop colours, see-through, and numberless watch faces, selling 60 million units by 1989. This internal industry struggle elevated the electronic, quartz, and mechanical watch to a new level of fashionable accessory beyond its functionality.

Since 2019, Watchland S.A. has been the leading importer and distributor of Smartwatches in Argentina, boasting the largest assortment in the market. Its products are available through various channels, including traditional watch shops, sports shops, department stores, and Time Shop stores in the country's main shopping malls. To ensure customer satisfaction, it operates a service centre with original spare parts and equipment.

Today, WatchLand S.A Argentina stands tall as the leading provider of timepieces in the region, spanning Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. This market dominance is a testament to the enduring partnership between WatchLand S.A. and Mistral. This collaboration has solidified Mistral's market position and demonstrated WatchLand's unwavering commitment to delivering quality and innovative products. With a strong foothold in the region, WatchLand S.A. is poised for further growth and success.