FASHION - INTERVIEW
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Alain Spinedi, CEO of Louis Erard
FASHION - INTERVIEW
by Mehmet Kaplan
Mr. Louis Erard was aware that sustainability of watchmaking quality would be only possible with correctly trained watchmakers, and his first move was to open the watchmaking school in 1929. And in 1931, with its own brand name, Louis Erard produced its first watch. When it comes to watchmaking, of course, it is not possible to think of another place, Louis Erard is a Swiss watch brand and located in Le Noirmont, Switzerland. Since 2003, Alain Spinedi has been carrying all the responsibility of Louis Erard on his shoulders. I had the opportunity to interview Alain Spinedi, CEO of Louis Erard, and I asked him about Louis Erard.
Before talking about Louis Erard, could you tell us about yourself and your career in Louis Erard?
I have a long experience in the watch industry.
10 years by Tissot, then launch of a new brand which is today not very well known anymore (sector no limits). Then, back to swatch group as VP sales for the brand Swatch and, eventually, taking over Louis Erard in 2003 to relaunch the brand which was deeply asleep.
How does it feel to assume all the responsibility of a brand with a historical heritage?
It is a constant pressure as nobody did remember the brand before 2003 and, as CEO, you are in charge of all positive but also responsibilities vs customers, partners, and employees.
The history of Louis Erard dates back to 1931. Could you tell us about the past and the present of Louis Erard?
Back in 1929, Mr. Louis Erard founded a watchmaking school where he taught, then established the Louis Erard company, specialising in casing. In 1931, Louis Erard took the next step and started to produce and sell watches under his own name. The brand Louis Erard was born and success was within the company’s reach. The family brand continued to grow until the 1980s.
After a period of dormancy in the 1990s, Louis Erard was purchased by a group of private investors in 2003. We were convinced of its potential, particularly due to the company’s enduring reputation for quality. In order to establish the company in the mid-range sector of Swiss watchmaking, we broke new ground by introducing an unmatched price point for a Swiss made mechanical watch, which was well-received by both the media and the general public.
Combining affordable luxury, timelessness, and elegance, Louis Erard is today renowned for its collection of mainly mechanical watches.
What are the values that Louis Erard has been representing for over eight decades?
I believe that quality has always been a must for the brand.
Louis Erard has never been a luxury brand but has a very good value for money. Our brand has created its own movement -the regulator with a power reserve indicator- which is an exclusivity.
We would like to become a little bit more exclusive in the near future with a more niche approach.
Could you tell us about the features and inspirations of Louis Erard watches? What makes Louis Erard watches special?
Quality, classic, exclusive, high-end watchmaking values at accessible prices.
We try with our new family La Sportive to get in contact with a younger generation.
Time is flowing, suppliers are changing, handcraft masters and artisans leaving their places to the new ones. How do you maintain the quality and sustainability despite all changes?
We are based in a region where people are quite faithful and I believe that the family spirit of Louis Erard is quite special and give a positive feeling to my colleagues.
What are you paying attention to the most in the design and development process of Louis Erard watches?
Each Louis Erard timepiece, equipped with a Swiss movement and featuring the Swiss made label, is produced with exceptional care, at every stage of its creation, from initial design to quality control, piece by piece.
Louis Erard should try to follow the trends in design but also be different and remains quite exclusive. The Family Excellence is a good example.
In the future, we will try to add more artisan feeling with some specialities to be more different and attractive for watch aficionados looking for an affordable luxury product.
What is the special aspect of "Swiss Made" for you?
All our watches are matching the new regulations of 60% Swiss made.
But, above all, the quality is an essential aspect of our policy.
What do you enjoy most about using Louis Erard watches in your daily life?
One of the main aspects of Louis Erard is that you can afford several timepieces because of the price accessibility.
You can enjoy a regulator one day when you are elegantly dressed and the next day wear a sportive watch with jeans.
This is one of the main compliments that we receive from our customers who remain faithful to the brand once they acquire a Louis Erard timepiece.
What is the importance of Baselworld for watch brands?
We left Baselworld in 2017.
It was very important in the past and has allowed us to establish a good distribution network, but for the future, I personally don’t believe in these big exhibitions anymore.
Too expensive, less attendance, no retailers visiting to acquire new brands. Local seminars will be more efficient.
What is next for you?
To introduce our new concept (more niche and selective) with a more exclusive and distinctive or disruptive product.
Covering less markets but focusing on the important ones.
Thank you Alain for your time.