A Hautlence chronograph designed in collaboration with Eric Cantona, limited edition of 250 pieces.
Tempus fugit…so the latin goes: time flies. And its been 10 years since we first saw the unique way of telling time which we have come to know as the Hautlence way.
The company has its ups and down over the last decade, but recently rebounded stronger than ever. Capital investment and deep industry know how from the MELB Group has strengthened CEO Guillaume Tetu’s resolve to continue to be relevant by making thought provoking watches. The MELB group is chaired by industry veteran Georges Henri Meylan, who was CEO of Audemars Piguet for a long time. The group also own Moser. Since then, Hautlence has relaunched itself. The high end pieces, the haute horology series now known as Concept Series, became more coherent in design and execution, and remain vital to the brand. In addition, they now also have a Avant Garde line which leans on the expertise from the Concept Series with simplified manufacturing so as to be able to deliver a mid-priced product. And rounding up the series, they also has an entry level range known as Origine.
Targeted at a lower price point, what Deployant agrees that the Origine range is appropriate for entry level Independent watches. To be able to reduce the cost of the watches, the Destination series utilizes non-in house movements, sourced from Selita and Soprod. But the distinctive DNA of Hautlence is still prevalent. Our subject watch in this article is from this series.
Eric Cantona: Footballer, Actor, and now Watch Designer
Designed in collaboration with Eric Cantona, former Manchester United striker and one of the world’s most popular footballers, the Invictus Morphos is produced in a limited edition series of 250 pieces. Guilaumme Tetu says, “Eric was amazing to work with. He has been an art collector for years, since his early 20s as a footballer. And have an amazing eye. His street art collection is probably one of the most varied and largest one in the world, featuring may iconic pieces.”
The Hautlence Invictus Morphos
Guillaume approached Eric to be a brand ambassador, “unlike other big watch companies with million dollar budgets, we were able to appeal to Eric to be our ambassador by working with him, with his art and allow him to express his ideas in watches.” His involvement was absolute. He was excited, and got on the ball (pun intended) immediately. The result is the rather beautiful timepiece we see here.
The watch is a well balanced design, with subdials well placed, and openings in the dial to show parts of the movement. Iridescent accents of sparkling bright blue flank the sides of the main dial are made from mother of pearl with the color provided by luminescent paint. This design element takes its cue from the Morphos butterfly, whose wings take on the similar electric blue hue.
For the press release: The butterfly is the very embodiment of the word ephemeral, symbolising freedom, a carefree existence and a zest for life resulting from the fact that given the shortness of one’s time on earth, one needs to live every second to the full. The butterfly also represents metamorphosis or change. It is the link between before and after, between our desires and their realisation, demonstrating by its very essence that it is possible to change and to make what already exists even more beautiful, on condition that trust prevails and one remains true to oneself. This philosophy is very dear to Eric Cantona and the members of the Gentlemen Rebels Club.
The case design retains the TV screen format, and is rather complex. The case is in grade 2 titanium, and the middle case, the case back and lugs are bead blasted. Watch cases are typically made of Grade 5 titanium is an alloy of titanium with aluminium. It is more shiny/ Grade 2 is also known as commercially pure titanium, is darker in hue, and typically used where the titanium needs to be welded, and is highly resistant to corrosion but not as strong as Grade 5. The bezel, crown, pushers and screws are in stainless steel.
Overall, the design is very pleasing, and despite sounding large in the dimensional measurements, the watch is quite comfortable on the wrist, even smaller ones.
We think this will be a winner. What do you think of this rather special collaboration between a celebrity who loves art and an avant garde, independent watchmaker like Hautlence? The Gentleman Rebel concept works?