Marseille Blue for King Eric

By James Henderson

I have, in recent months, shied away a great deal from “Celebrity News & Partnerships”.  But when you set rules for yourself, you must be prepared to break them – I mean this is not a man, this is Cantona!

You might notice – no champagne, no ribbon cutting, just Cantona, sleeves rolled up, working on an idea with the folks at Hautlence.

Not one to simply “phone it in”, Mr. Cantona is clearly committed to doing more than merely stamp his name on the dial of a “stock model”. A full two days were spent in at the HAUTLENCE design and production workshop in La Chaux- de-Fonds in late April.    
And it was more than just walking around and “blessing” a prepared product – again, this is Eric Cantona! Never one to shy away from new challenges, he jumped in to instructive sessions with a case-maker, a decorator and an external design workshop.  The result?  The first insights, in the form of sketches for the watch that will represent not just a one-off, but what appears likely to be a lasting partnership.  Then off to Paris where a follow-up meeting finalized the design.

I am not one to go all “gooey” over celebrity partnerships.  I find Richard Mille‘s and Hublot‘s ambassador choices and the money flushed down the PR toilet to be about as subtle as a sledge hammer, and about as enduring as a billboard.  There is no real collaboration, no connection, no true message. 
So bravo HAUTLENCE, and merci – you have made a believer out of at least one cynic.  Let us hope that other brands could try to get their heads around the REAL idea of partnership, communication and collaboration.

James Henderson
James Henderson – Contributing Editor

Known to many in the industry as their “nagging conscience”, James Henderson writes the Tempus Fugit Blog. Prior to writing about watches he worked for DOXA Watches for three years and currently works with several brands on marketing and communication projects. Having taught English in Japan, Portugal, Finland and Scotland, James now calls Santa Barbara, California home. Read his articles here.