Maurice Lacroix A roadmap for 2019
Maurice Lacroix is back on track. The watchmaker has placed the Aikon back in centre stage, brought greater clarity to its collections (and thinned them out), and left Baselworld. Managing Director Stéphane Waser, who has been with the company for 10 years, gives us an update.
Ten years: that’s how long Stéphane Waser has been with Maurice Lacroix. He’s embarking on his eleventh year now, as CEO. Ten years could also mark the end of the brand’s lengthy overhaul. “In 2008 we were in the middle of repositioning the manufacture, in response to two things. First, the market was performing very well, and the signs pointed to continuing growth. And second, the increasing difficulty of sourcing movements from ETA, as per the Swatch Group’s announcement, which led to our becoming independent,” Stéphane Waser explains. “Unfortunately, the repositioning didn’t have the hoped-for results. We therefore decided to do a 360° review of our strategy and define a guiding principle, beginning with positioning, product design, distribution and marketing. We moved from a product strategy to a global brand strategy.”
Stéphane Waser, CEO of Maurice Lacroix © Maurice Lacroix
The arrival of DKSH in 2012 brought an infusion of oxygen. The repositioning strategy went ahead, with some refinements. “The Masterpiece range was well thought-out, but the price range (above CHF 10,000) was inaccessible to our core clientele. At the same time, in our commercial segment of CHF 1,000–3,000, our product identities didn’t stand out enough. There was a lot of ‘me too’ from one line to the next. These gaps, and the lack of consistency in our product portfolio provided the strategic response in terms of our future developments.”
Masterpiece Square Wheel Retrograde with anthracite or silver dial © Maurice Lacroix
In 2014, the brand made the final adjustments to its repositioning strategy: “We put the Aikon back in centre stage, slimmed down the number of references, and overhauled the entire production and logistics cycle. Today, we are able to fulfil customer orders for the first pieces of a new collection within weeks of receiving them, rather than in 12 months, as was the case in the past,” Stéphane Waser notes.
Aikon Automatic Chronograph limited edition © Maurice Lacroix
A stable brand
The period of flux is now at an end, and Maurice Lacroix is moving ahead on two sturdy, well-balanced legs; on one side there are the mechanical collections with their distinctive brand DNA (Masterpiece, Aikon, Pontos), and on the other, the classic collections vital to any brand operating in the affordable luxury segment (Fiaba, Eliros, Les Classiques). All that’s needed now is to address the gender balance (currently 70% men, 30% women), but we are told to expect a women’s Aikon by the summer. A transition is already under way with the new Aikon presented in Geneva last January which, because of its 39 mm diameter, could be considered unisex.
Aikon Automatic © Maurice Lacroix
What about tomorrow?
The DKSH group continues to stand by its stated intention to sell Maurice Lacroix. In the meantime, the brand has rediscovered its path, its coherence, its essence, and has rekindled some of its original spark. The impact of its absence from Baselworld is difficult to assess right now, but the management team was pleased with the success of the Geneva exhibition they held in parallel with the SIHH, which they hope to build upon throughout the rest of the year with an international roadshow.
Aikon Mercury © Maurice Lacroix
As far as digital promotion is concerned, the brand is extremely active on social media, and intends to grow this further. Online sales will follow... in due course, as is the case for most watchmaking companies. At the same time, after three Black Friday operations judged in hindsight to be too broad, Maurice Lacroix is looking for new digital promotion channels to differentiate itself. There are even plans to launch future new products online.
Maurice Lacroix headquarters © Maurice Lacroix
Based in the Jura region of Switzerland, Maurice Lacroix has been producing fine Swiss timepieces for over 40 years and has developed 14 in-house movements over the past ten years.Find out more >
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