Lionel a Marca has been working behind the scene for many years on the Swatch Group. Just a few months in the past, he took over the operational administration of Breguet, underneath the presidency of Marc A. Hayek, with whom he has labored carefully for years. On the event of the Tourbillon Exhibition organised within the Geneva Boutique, we sat down with him to debate his profession and the way forward for this model wealthy of 246 years of historical past.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME-WATCHES – What’s your background, and the way did you turn out to be CEO of Breguet?
Lionel a Marca, BREGUET – I’m a educated watchmaker and graduated from the watchmaking faculty in Porrentruy. From there, I went to work at Mercier SA in Les Breuleux, the place we have been assembling all forms of actions after which to Frédéric Piguet in Le Noirmont. I’ve additionally labored carefully with ETA, particularly on the event of the Omega Central Tourbillon, ending and assembling this excellent motion, after which on completely different complication motion initiatives. After a number of years, I began to work on high quality administration inside Swatch Group, auditing inner and exterior manufacturing websites. Throughout one in every of my missions at Blancpain, Marc A. Hayek invited me to affix the model’s group. I spent over 20 years at Blancpain in command of product and operations. Just a few months in the past, I used to be missioned to make a deep dive on the Breguet operation and in July the Hayek household gave me the reins of this stunning model.
What stunned you if you found Breguet from the within?
Though I’ve identified the model for years, I used to be nonetheless impressed by the extraordinary know-how, the professionalism and the innovation capability of the R&D groups. From an inner communication perspective, there have been too many silos inside the corporate. So, it was necessary to me to empower individuals, encourage direct communication and bottom-up suggestions. Breguet has all the things. Now we have an unparalleled legacy, and we’ve extraordinary individuals; what we’ve to do is enhance the best way we work. In the long run, all people must be targeted on what issues most: listening to our purchasers.
Speaking about merchandise, how do you envision the evolution of Breguet’s collections?
Now we have a long-term product growth plan, and we’ve a dynamic R&D group. Now we have to work on the completely different collections and take into consideration their future. Take the instance of the Custom. We have to put together it for the longer term. This can be a magnificent assortment, it has all the things, and it’s quintessentially Breguet. However it must evolve.
What concerning the Kind XX?
2022 will likely be an necessary yr for the Kind XX assortment. A re-interpretation of the gathering, initiated by Marc A. Hayek, is in progress. Our aim is to suggest a group re-thought when it comes to technical efficiency and aesthetics.
Does your watchmaking background offer you a special strategy to product growth and creation?
Sure and no. There are extremely expert individuals at Breguet and extraordinary initiatives in growth. However perhaps with my background, the event groups will discover a complementary associate. I at all times prime the performance of watches and actions we develop – and at all times drive individuals one step additional.
What’s the foremost problem for Breguet at present?
Our problem is to inform all people who Abraham-Louis Breguet was, to get individuals to find out about our improbable heritage whereas innovating for the longer term. Abraham-Louis Breguet was such an innovator from a technical and aesthetic perspective; he actually invented horological design. We have to inform individuals who we’re.
Breguet by no means leaves individuals detached. Breguet is Breguet. For us at present, the problem is to honour and nurture this extraordinary legacy.
You’ve gotten an distinctive manufacturing software. What does it characterize for the model?
Now we have a rare savoir-faire. Due to our distinctive craftsmen, we possess distinctive technical and aesthetic know-how. Hand-finishing is crucial, from the manufacturing of motion components, motion manufacturing, chamfers, engine-turning artisans and enamellers to case manufacturing with MBB (Montres Breguet Boîte). That’s the distinctive Breguet contact. Practically all elements are hand-finished. The individuals working on the manufacture are the cornerstone of Breguet’s excellence.
Take the instance of hand-filed chamfers; I don’t assume that there are various manufactures with so many craftsmen practising the craft. We began years in the past. The identical applies to engine-turning (guillochage). Now we have a novel group of craftsmen, and we’ve purchased and used conventional machines for years. That is important, we make it some extent of honour to perpetuate this know-how.
How do you take care of heritage?
Breguet is likely one of the only a few manufacturers with complete data of its historical past. In our archives, in Paris, we’ve data of each single Breguet piece offered from the start of our exercise. So we are able to discover exact info and authenticate each single Breguet watch. Breguet restores and companies the watches that characterize the heritage of the Maison, together with these purchased at public sale gross sales. A few of these distinctive watches are exhibited in our Paris Museum.
The panorama of watch trade festivals has modified lots over the previous few years. How will Breguet current its watches within the close to future?
With out festivals. I feel our purchasers anticipate one thing greater than skilled watch festivals. We must be nearer to the tip shopper. We have to have direct communication. The times when manufacturers would current all their novelties for the yr after which ship these months later is over. Individuals need to uncover the watches and go to a boutique or a retailer to ‘expertise’ the watch. I feel the connection with watches is a really tactile and emotional expertise. Nothing can substitute a ‘hands-on’ expertise. As soon as once more, the tip shopper is our focus.
You celebrated the 220th anniversary of the Tourbillon patent with a restricted version. Are you able to inform us extra concerning the watch?
Nicely, it is a vital date. The thought was to rejoice this anniversary with a quintessential Breguet savoir-faire, one thing extraordinarily pure and sober with simply hours and minutes. The end result was an extra-thin tourbillion with a peripheral oscillating weight. The hand-guilloche dial is extraordinarily tremendous,
with a pitch of solely 0.25 millimetres. From a distance of fifty centimetres, it provides the phantasm of a matte end. Engine-turning was delivered to watchmaking by Abraham-Louis Breguet. The approach permits mild to be captured in a wide range of methods, starting from the utmost readability to a extra matte end. Gentle captured on this approach permits the completely different studying zones on the dial to be clearly marked…
This watch is Breguet by way of and thru and was good for this anniversary. Designing a tremendous, sober watch shouldn’t be a simple activity. As they are saying, the satan is within the particulars. It was not simple, however we love challenges.
Are there every other matters you’d like to say?
It is very important me to offer credit score to watchmakers. Watchmaking is a wealthy, complicated artwork. We have to have a holistic imaginative and prescient of watchmaking, encompassing all of the completely different crafts. A watchmaker wants to have the ability to do all the things. That is what Breguet is all about. Abraham-Louis Breguet was a watchmaker, within the purest sense. An distinctive watchmaker.
So we, in Switzerland, have to acknowledge our watchmakers, nurture our distinctive legacy and nurture the following era of watchmakers.
For extra info, please go to www.breguet.com.