Relatively new to the watch world, Le Rhöne is aiming to shake up the status quo this year with a unique offering of haute horlogerie combined with fast turnaround times. Managing director Loïc Florentin (pictured above) is the man steering the ship and spoke to WatchPro about his ambitions for Le Rhöne this year and beyond.
WatchPro: When was Le Rhöne founded?
Loic Florentin: Le Rhöne has been around since January 2013. The project was in my mind for many years but I really worked on it during 2012 to be able to register the company in January 2013.
WP: In which markets is the brand strongest?
LF: We are strong in Latin America. I worked all my life in the Americas region and this is also why one of the reasons we are strong there. We are now targeting Europe with openings this year. We are not yet in the UK and we are working to meet several key players during Baselworld to be able to have the right partner and right image for our brand.
WP: What has changed at Le Rhöne in the last year or so?
LF: One of the key changes in 2016 and 2017 is that I, Loïc Florentin, have returned as managing director of this brand after a few years at Richemont. My partner and I have been working to upgrade to a haute-horlogerie segment but being able to personalise in a short time frame.
Our novelty at Baselworld for example is a double tourbillon Home-Time that can be personalised and shipped to the final customer in approximately six to eight weeks. We are also working on a development of a new movement and a new module.
We are really pushing our brand towards being a more watchmaking brand knowing that all we do is 100% Swiss made, working with the best artisans and Ateliers in Switzerland.
WP: What can watch retailers expect to see from you at Baselworld this year?
LF: As I said previously, retailers will see our new movements are the new double Tourbillon Home-Time and of course a new 41 mm case. They will also see in BaselWorld a new brand image, with a new stand, a new website (to be launched during the fair), new exciting models and mostly a beautiful feminine watch.
WP: What is your impression of the UK watch consumer compared to other countries throughout the world?
LF: UK watch consumers are consumers that love Swiss horlogerie and are detail-oriented, and this is a great thing for Le Rhöne as our pieces are conceived thinking of all the details consumers want to see in our gardes du temps.The other impression is that they like to differentiate themselves from the others and they like to have watches that are more exclusive.
WP: What makes Le Rhöne’s offering unique and desirable?
LF: We have worked on having the best quality we could offer, working with the best artisans for each part of the watches. We wanted our product to be 100% Swiss made; we only work with Swiss companies. And now with our new haute horlogerie we develop unique pieces for consumers in a very short time frame.