WorldTempus: There has understandably been a lot of talk surrounding the involvement of Eric Cantona on the new Invictus Morphos model, but it is also your first-ever chronograph. Isn’t this a major milestone for the brand?
Guillaume Tetu:: It is very important. Just as the Destination collection with the dual time function and our first outsourced movement was a very audacious move. But we needed a chronograph and I wanted one that was skeletonised so that we could show off the depth of the piece.
The fact that we are launching it in a limited edition with the signature of Eric Cantona is also a kind of wager, but we wanted to bring it on to the market quickly and take advantage of the notoriety that Eric Cantona brings. It was easier to do this with this chronograph, since it was already under development. However, the idea of producing this butterfly wing effect on the dial would never have occurred to us without the input of Eric Cantona.
"We are considering a ladies’ model that could have a nice complication"
As part of the refocusing of your strategy since the acquisition by MELB Holding, you have a very clear product pyramid, for which the Destination collection now forms the base. But are we ever likely to see a simple three-hand model from Hautlence ?
It’s not something that we have planned at the moment. We are, however, considering a ladies’ model that could have a nice complication. But we do not really want to drop below a retail price of 18,000 Swiss francs. We have invested a lot in the dials and the multi-layer design of the watches, so even if there are not huge amounts invested in the movement, there is still a considerable investment involved. I’m not saying that we would never do a three-handed watch but if we did, it would probably be a regulator, for example, to maintain our architectural design on the dial.
At the other end of the scale are there really no limits like the philosophy of Eric Cantona ?
Yes, there really are no limits. We have a couple of ideas on the table already. One is more artistic and the other would be more of a new movement development that will have a more philosophical approach to displaying the time. Aside from this we will also have a new concept watch that will be in the 80-120,000 Swiss franc price range and thus a bit more affordable than the HL 2. Where we also need to develop something new is in the 50,000 Swiss franc price range, where we have nothing at the moment. But this is because we have sold out all the models from the original series. This is where we hope to benefit from synergies within the MELB Holding structure by having a new Moser movement with a jumping hour display, which we are already working on.
You are going to open your first “Hautlounge” in Jakarta. Is Indonesia really such a big market for Hautlence?
Not just Hautlence but for high-end watchmaking in general. I think it is the third or fourth biggest market for Richard Mille, for example. In these fast-developing countries there are enormous extremes. Not only do you have very rich people but you also have a strong culture of corporate gift-giving as part of their culture – sometimes very expensive gifts, depending on the importance of the project.