The date was March 2004. The spot was Basel.
I had gotten wind of another “brand” (really, even more another little autonomous than a genuine brand), and was going down the road from Baselworld’s Hall 1 toward the neighborhood Starbucks to meet with the organizers. That’s right, you heard right. Starbucks.
To say that Hautlence has come far since that nippy March day when Guillaume Tetu, Renaud de Retz, and I sat over an American espresso in Switzerland and inspected the moment subtleties of a watch, any semblance of which had not at this point been found in Swiss watchmaking, would put it mildly.
In the a long time since, Hautlence has essentially encountered its own introduction to the world, middle age, close to death, and reincarnation.
That’s a considerable amount of history for any ten-year-old brand.
The unique Hautlence watch, known as the HL, incorporated some intriguing specialized viewpoints, for example, a bounce hour show and a “interfacing pole” for the retrograde minutes.
Remember, building up one’s own development in the mid 2000s was not something that numerous brands were doing. The inventiveness and mechanical magnificence of it roused extraordinary feeling, as did the enthusiastic clarifications of its young creators, Tetu and de Retz.
It was in extraordinary part the complicated, point by point plan that made the first Hautlence watch and all the augmentations and renditions that came after it so generally appreciated among connoisseurs.
Things appeared to be working out in a good way for the youthful Hautlence originators – who had named their image as a re-arranged word of the company’s Swiss old neighborhood Neuchâtel – until the financial emergency of 2008.
This troublesome period, happening after an exceptional blast in extravagance merchandise, caused a ton of changes in the Swiss watch industry. It additionally caused a couple of new businesses to change their course in some way.
Naturally, Hautlence was additionally influenced, and shockingly adversely. To such an extent that it never truly recovered.
Around 2009 de Retz left the company; Tetu kept on battling for Hautlence. By 2012 it became clear that Tetu would not have the option to hold it and Hautlence seemed as though it might disappear.
It was now that previous Audemars Piguet CEO Georges-Henri Meylan entered the image. Meylan had resigned, at that point found that he didn’t care for playing golf all day every day. He had a speculation company MELB, which to that point had put resources into land and clinical advances, and hoped to branch out.
Naturally, as the past CEO of Swiss monster Audemars Piguet, watchmaking wasn’t a long way from his psyche, so it was certifiably not a stretch to make a division for little watch companies.
Almost all the while, MELB obtained the almost dejected Moser & Cie, Precision Engineering and afterward Hautlence. MELB had just made a dissemination office in Asia for a couple of little, free shop brands like Hautlence and De Bethune.
MELB, which is completely possessed by Meylan and his family, acted the hero by purchasing Hautlence for $1 in addition to the entirety of its debt.
From this day: a brand
September 2, 2014 was the day that Hautlence began its renewed outlook decisively. Following two years of rearrangement, or more all rebuilding its objectives and situating, which required the abilities brought by Tetu’s item skill just as MELB CEO Bill Muirhea’s essential capacity for marking, this day addresses the commencement for the “new” Hautlence.
“This is a major day,” Tetu agreed, the energy appearing in his eyes in spite of the exhaustion brought about by all the arrangement and the evening of moderately hard celebrating before.
The festivity some portion of this dispatch was vital for all the workers of MELB, starting from the top. This was stressed for one by the presence of all key MELB workers (the whole administration of Moser was available in Neuchâtel during the two-day dispatch notwithstanding that of MELB and Hautlence) and for another by the way that the dispatch began with a gathering as opposed to the business end, flagging the way that Hautlence feels it has a lot to celebrate just by (as yet) being here.
Eric Cantona came to Baselworld in 2014 to talk with Tetu and investigate the assortment, after which he reconfirmed his ability to become Hautlence’s new image ambassador.
But for what reason did they contact Cantona surprisingly in any case? At the point when Tetu, Muirhea and Meylan were working out the brand heading, they chose working around the plan thought of “we don’t mind anyone’s opinion” that they separated from seeing manly, flippant Harley Davidson advertising over the years.
Thus, they concocted the possibility of the “go too far” slogan and the “respectable men’s renegade club,” which they use to portray proprietors of Hautlence timepieces.
Then, they made the thought a stride further. Who might they will be the refined man rebel face of the new Hautlence; who might Tetu imagine this to be? Cantona, normally, was the appropriate response. An alluring, disputable, imaginative, or more every one of the an energetic, strutting sort of showman.
Now, here’s the intriguing thing about this specific ambassadorship. In the event that you follow soccer by any stretch of the imagination, you’re probably going to recollect Cantona from his dynamic days at Manchester United, where he assumed a vital part in the club’s renaissance subsequent to moving to England from Nimes. He is broadly viewed as having been Man U’s best player ever. He additionally played for the French public group from 1987 through 1995.
After resigning from soccer, Cantona turned into an entertainer and an incredibly, renowned French character. He is additionally an artist.
His popularity is pretty much focused in England and France just as Asia. Yet, he is essentially obscure in the Americas, a reality that effectively reveals to you the course that Hautlence is working in as an essential objective. In the event that the light hasn’t gone off yet, the news that Hautlence is opening an independent mono store in Jakarta one year from now is another clue.
Cantona rehashed a few times for the duration of the evening that he was so glad to be essential for Hautlence’s recovery. And afterward he presented the watch he co-planned with Tetu.
Of butterflies and men
Cantona’s co-creation isn’t just the absolute first shared watch Hautlence has at any point delivered, yet additionally its absolute first chronograph.
Even more astounding: like a year ago’s Destination, it contains a remotely delivered development comprising a Dubois Dépraz module on a programmed Soprod base. For a brand situated as a great “autonomous” for almost 10 years, the more “entry-level” (at around $25,000, passage level remaining parts without a doubt relative) thought of a re-appropriated development housed in an ordinary Hautlence-look case may be a piece shocking.
Tetu, in any case, uncovers that this is essential for a greater item procedure that will help him and his group accomplish the “brand” status more quickly.
“We are completely comfortable utilizing outside developments,” said Tetu. “What’s more, this may assist us with becoming the main specialty brand to discover its direction onto the wrists of ‘ordinary’ consumers.”
The thought, indeed, is to proceed with the mechanical innovativeness that Hautlence started its reality with on two levels: manifestations of mechanical exemption like the HL2.0 just as the “atelier” line of HL watches controlled by fabricate developments and gathered with extraordinary consideration in Hautlence’s own La Chaux-de-Fonds workshop.
The “section level” line is named “signature” and incorporates average Hautlence-style configuration controlled by re-appropriated innovation. This incorporates a year ago’s Destination just as the just-reported Invictus Morphos restricted version by Eric Cantona.
These are additionally valued more like section level timepieces.
Tetu relates that the Destination has been Hautlence’s best watch yet regarding deals, and that neither the generally enormous contrast in cost from the “standard thing” assortment nor the utilization of more common developments have done anything besides build deals. This is in fact a triumph of sorts.
“People are purchasing plan now,” he said. “They didn’t actually think often about the movement.”
The chronograph astounded me in its offbeat foundation: for a particularly looking person, Cantona appears to truly have the core of a craftsman. Around the edge of the chronograph shows, which structure a round dial regardless of the elliptical square shape of the hefty case, we simply perceive the designed wings of the morphos butterfly made in shining blue mother-of-pearl and dark printed designs. It is effectively recognizable as a butterfly.
Again, this amazed me. Notwithstanding, Cantona said, “All day long is a metamorphosis of sorts.” And the shading blue holds an alternate directive for all of us.
Deep. What’s more, eccentric. Be that as it may, manly? Indeed, yes. View it and choose for yourself.
Design Part Deux
Cantona is a significant gatherer of road workmanship. To stress the imaginative purposes of the Invictus Morphos, Hautlence chose to make a show blending the brand’s notorious pieces from the most recent decade with works of art from Cantona’s assortment. Hautlence has normally consistently referred to engineering and plan in the actual center of its watches’ appearance.
The show will go on a world visit that started in Neuchâtel over these most recent two days. Along these lines, everybody will get an opportunity to see for themselves.
Development: programmed Soprod A10 with Dubois Dépraz 293 module
Capacities: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Case: grade 2 titanium with hardened steel screws
Restriction: 250 pieces
Cost: 22,500 Swiss francs