2014 is of course a footballing year. All around the world, companies have been investing huge marketing budgets in World Cup spin-off products and endorsements. In watchmaking terms, Hublot have monopolised almost the whole event “Biver-style” leaving the rest to scramble over individual players and teams. Parmigiani scooped the home team, the Seleção, the Swiss team are timed to perfection c/o Carl F. Bucherer, and Cristiano Ronaldo is among the individual players signed-up, promising to give deference to his new watch brand of “choice”, TAG Heuer. In the midst of all the hoopla which accompanies the build-up to a World Cup tournament, Hautlence also signed up a footballer – Eric Cantona. Why Cantona? Well, who better than football’s quintessential eccentric to represent this most eccentric of watch brands?
A Unique Watchmaking Company
Hautlence; they have been providing the “Wow” factor to the watch industry since 2004. Their name is (famously) an anagram of the city of Neuchatel, paying tribute to the hub of horology, but the portfolio of this particular brand is anything but traditional. In 2012 Georges-Henri Meylan took the helm bringing with him a wealth of experience and the security of MELB Holdings. He now joins forces with Guillaume Tetu, to carry Hautlence forward into its second decade.
Hautlence are renowned for their technical movements, their avant-garde finesse and jumping hour and retrograde indications, more recently they have opened their portfolio to a wider audience, with their sensibly priced Hautlence Destination which still captures the spirit of the brand while relying on a Soprod Calibre to provide its power.
Despite being relative newcomers Hautlence have been readily accepted into the watchmaking fold, collectors appreciate their in-house workmanship and rarity, others, me included, have been smitten by their unexpected time indications and their youthful enthusiasm for their models. In just ten years, Hautlence have produced some of the most stimulating watch dials in watchmaking history and have in the process become the darlings of industry bloggers and the printed press – perhaps one of football’s current heroes would have seemed a suitable ambassador for this unique brand, but Eric Cantona is a highly complex man and a football legend whose name and image secures instant kudos.
A Sports Personality With a Personality
Cantona is extremely well-read, intelligent and something of a philosopher whose observations are rarely far from the truth – even if they might require an enigma machine to decipher sometimes! He is not simply an ex-footballing star but is also an actor and an artist. When he was a professional footballer, he was as unpredictable on the field as he was off it, and his career was peppered with many moments of genius and a few moments of madness. In Eric Cantona Hautlence have found a sports personality with a personality and now they have him they intend to make good use of him. M. Cantona will play an active role in the 10th anniversary events for Hautlence, including an advertising campaign titled “Cross the Line”. He will not be an ambassador who will simply turn up at fancy get-togethers and pay lip-service to his new watchmaking partners, but will be involved at a much higher level. Hautlence plan to release a unique limited series of models developed in conjunction with Eric Cantona which will bear his signature – that is the plan, but with Eric Cantona, expect the unexpected.