Chapter iii time travelers

QUICKFIRE Q&A: R&D tops priority list as AWAKE continues on growth trajectory

The latest launch from Awake Concept paid tribute to the Muonionalusta, believed to be the oldest meteorite know to date.

The latest launch from Awake Concept paid tribute to the Muonionalusta, believed to be the oldest meteorite know to date.

It is also believed to be 20 million years older than the earth itself.

The launch went down a treat, but as the brand grows, it is important to understand the ethos behind Awake Concept and look ahead to where it plans to get to.

WatchPro’s Alex Douglas caught up with Lilian Thibault to find out more:

WP: What is the story behind the brand?

LT: AWAKE was born from the desire to combine my passion and personal values in a project that would become the voice of my vision of the world. For too long, we have considered the Earth as a resource to be exploited, without any limits or compensation.

Lilian Thibault

Faced with the global awareness of a world with finite resources, I wish to prove that it is possible to do things differently and to inspire others to evolve in that direction: to use the living world as a source of inspiration, to create the alternative, to push back the limits of what is possible. The solution is no longer to compensate a model, it is in the construction of another, more virtuous and more sustainable.

Since its creation, AWAKE stands for an avant-garde and exemplary vision of manufacturing in phase with our climatic and environmental challenges. Between permanent innovation and minimal carbon footprint, our “raison d’être” is to raise awareness and initiate new consumption behaviors. This mission is in fact written in our name.

WP: What is your background in terms of experience?

LT: I love entrepreneurship because it’s the best way to have a passion as a job. After a few years spent in the media, I launched my first company in 2008, and accompanied many luxury brands in their digital strategy. By creating Awake in 2018, I wanted to propose a new vision of watchmaking, exploring our individual connection to time and redefining the purpose of the instrument that embodies it.

In addition to AWAKE, I accompany young companies in their development. I enjoy meeting people who have the desire to make things happen and who take risks to achieve their vision.

My personal mantra: « the best way to predict the future is to build it ».

WP: What bred your passion for watches?

LT: Initially, a meeting with a client who was a true watch enthusiast made me dive into this fascinating world of which I knew almost nothing. I was captivated by the extreme attention to detail, the craftsmanship and its application to watchmaking, the mechanical complexity and the hours of work that go into such a small object. I read a lot and met many other enthusiasts. The virus has never left me since, and I have been collecting watches for more than 20 years. I don’t have a specific theme, I just go by what I like, but I try to avoid similar pieces.

Over the years, I have turned my attention to independent watchmakers, looking for a creativity and passion that I could no longer find in the big brands. Today, I try to apply this passion to Awake’s creations, which should neither be inspired by the past, nor copy the existing.

WP: In terms of the product specifically, what feeds the wider inspiration?

LT: Pioneers of a responsible approach in the watch industry, our values and commitments guide all of our decisions in the different stages of our developments. So does passion.

Our creative process is to demonstrate the beauty of the world, and we want to raise awareness through the desire to preserve what inspires us, and I believe that design can create this positive emotional connection.

Secondly, we distinguish ourselves by our exemplary vision of manufacturing, between uncompromising technicality and minimal environmental impact. We only use materials from a circular and regenerative process, and our taste for innovation leads us to create our own alloys, even cleaner and more efficient.

Time travelers

Finally, we have a very disruptive approach to technology. By being the first watch brand to integrate blockchain technology through our sapphire crystal, we have of course dematerialized and secured all papers related to our watches, but we have also opened the way to unparalleled experiences that allow our customers to go far beyond the simple physical object. As part of the Mission To Earth project, the result of a partnership with NASA, we have provided access to the live video feed from the ISS cameras to observe the Earth from space and appreciate its beauty but also its fragility. Something never seen before in our industry.

WP: Founded in 2018, how have things grown so far?

LT: Our story, although recent, already has great milestones. In 2018, we launched AWAKE on Kickstarter platform, resulting in over 1000 pre-orders generated in one month.

In 2019, the French government asked us to develop a watch embodying France’s commitment against ocean pollution for the G7 summit. Offered to the world leaders attending this event, La Bleue became the symbol of the French president’s opening speech in front of the world’s cameras.

Between 2020 and 2020, we made limited editions for various French army corps, including the French Navy.

In 2022, we launched the “Mission To Earth” project, approved by Nasa, whose third and final chapter, “Time Travelers”, has just been launched.

Also in 2022, we collaborated with Alain Silberstein, the famous “watch architect”, to create an off-market watch only available to invited guests.

WP: What are the plans for further growth?

LT: Accelerating our R&D is a priority. On the product side, several collaborations and special editions are planned in the coming months, and we will end the year with an all new collection that will focus on craftsmanship. An approach that we never see in our price range.

WP: In terms of the sales channels, are you open to bricks & mortar retail? why?

LT: We have 4 retail partners in France for the moment, for whom Awake is the entry level of their multi-brand offer, but with a very strong value proposition. And if we don’t plan to extend it to the country level, the international development is on the other hand a strategic axis for the years to come, while remaining limited: 1 to 2 points of sale per country, able to retranscribe the values and vision of the brand.

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