Will France’s president Macron save us from crashing out of the European Union with out a deal? Probably not. But he might help a French watch brand make its mark on the world because he is regularly seen wearing a March LA.B timepiece in public.
March LA.B, which is sold in over 85 partner stores in France, opened its own boutique in London’s Soho in April this year, and is hoping to replicate the success it enjoys in its homeland across the UK.
It always helps to have friends (and influencers) in high places, and there are few better for the brand than the president of the French Republic, who is also something of a style icon for a certain type of man.
He owns several March LA.B watches, WatchPro is told, but his favourite is the March LA.B AM69 Electric — a 36mm steel watch with quartz movement that retails for £495.
The story goes that Emmanuel Macron met Joseph Châtel, one of March LA.B’s angel investors, in an elevator in 2016 and they got chatting about watches and the French watchmaking brand. Mr Châtel later became a significant supporter of the En Marche political movement that swept Mr Macron to power.
He must have remembered who his friends were on the way up the greasy French political pole because, in 2018, he attended a meeting that was also attended by Mr Châtel, who noticed he was wearing the March LA.B AM69 Electric. He has often been seen wearing it since.
In France, March LA.B watches are often found at premium retailers alongside brands such as Bell & Ross, Breitling, Rolex, TAG Heuer and Omega, although prices, even for its mechanical collections, are more affordable in the £500 to £1500 range.
“We offer something different in our price range. We have a unique combination of price and quality,” says the brand’s founder and CEO Alain Marhic.
The watches are inspired by the 1970s. They are elegant and retro, Mr Marhic describes.
The company is looking for retail partners in the UK that value something different. “We need windows. We need storytelling. We help them with this because we spend two days working with every new retail partner on how to present our watches and how to sell them. We spend a lot of time on the story of quality, style and service,” Mr Marhic says.