Lebeau-Courally Developing its event experience
The manufacture has ventured outside its native Belgium to conquer the rest of Europe, developing event tie-ins for which it can produce highly sought-after limited editions.
Brands sometimes develop in unexpected ways. And it’s sometimes all the more unexpected when the brand itself is not your usual watch company. This is the case of Lebeau-Courally – a manufacturer of prestigious collectors’ hunting rifles, possible the most prestigious in the world, turned watchmaker, and subsequently watch manufacture (with the incorporation of IMH in Le Locle) – all in the space of barely five years!
The company’s dual Belgo-Swiss DNA is expressed in two collections: the Heritage and the Manufacture. The historic pieces of the former reflect the company’s firearms heritage, while the latter comprises 100% original manufacture creations, of which there are currently two – the Phase de Lune and the Micro II, the in-house micro-rotor unveiled at the most recent Baselworld. But it is in an intermediate sector that the brand has recorded its strongest growth recently: event-specific limited editions. It’s a two-pronged approach intended to win new clients.
Micro II © Lebeau-Courally
The first events took place on Lebeau-Courally’s home soil, in Belgium. “We began by focusing on two prestigious local events, Jumping Antwerp and the Zoute Grand Prix, in the coastal resort of Knokke-le-Zoute,” explains Laurens Peeters, Managing Director of watchmaking for Lebeau-Courally. “In each case, we produced limited editions of a few dozen pieces based on our Le Baron model. They flew off the shelves in record time and are now sold out.”
The status of these events was clearly commensurate with that of Lebeau-Courally: they are elitist and prestigious. The company’s gunsmithing arm produces around twenty rifles per year, of unrivalled quality. They are all handmade, engraved in Liège and 100% unique. Some of them require up to two years’ work. Lebeau-Courally’s watchmaking division had no choice but to align itself with these standards. Jumping Antwerp is a 5-star equestrian event – the highest level – and the Zoute GP is one of Europe’s most prestigious motor racing events.
The next logical step for Lebeau-Courally’s was therefore to replicate this success beyond its borders. “When the Zoute GP organisers mentioned a similar event in Sotogrande, in Spain, we signed up,” continues Laurens Peeters. “That also introduced us to the Iberian market, which was unknown to us, with a guarantee of the same level of quality.” The manufacturer developed another limited series to take along, of which just a few pieces remain – a record for an event of this standing, on its very first edition.
Sotogrande Grand Prix © Lebeau-Courally
Sotogrande Grand Prix Limited Edition © Lebeau-Courally
Is this an expansion strategy worth pursuing? Lebeau-Courally seems to want to take a breather. “We are entering a period of strong development, and other markets are beckoning, particularly China and Japan,” explains Laurens Peeters. “We put a great deal into the limited editions, but with a single aim: to promote our Manufacture collections. An event-related approach has proven profitable in this respect.”
Now, the focus has turned to delivery of the new Phase de Lune and Micro II watches. The new models will be in shops this autumn. But WorldTempus is delighted to announced that Lebeau-Courally has scheduled one last event-specific launch: a limited edition with star DJs Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. When and where can you buy them? This summer, in Ibiza. Where else?
Sharing terms such as calibre, lever and barrel, arms manufacturing and watchmaking have certain parallels. Belgian brand Lebeau-Courally has a distinguished history in the latter and is the only brand to bring the two worlds together.Find out more
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