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Real value at a fair price

Elegant, unpretentious timepiecesLouis Erard Keeps the Financial Crisis at Bay

While the Swiss watch industry has felt the full force of the financial crisis, with exports down 25% during the first nine months of the year, Montres Louis Erard S.A. is counting on a relative decline of only 5% for fiscal 2009. Without resorting to any triumphalism – this year’s Christmas sales are crucial for realising this figure – the company can nevertheless congratulate itself on not having had to lay off any employees since the crisis began, not even on a temporary basis. In fact, it has even taken on new staff!

A winning strategy

Based in Le Noirmont in the Swiss Jura, the independent watchmaker produces mechanical watches exclusively, classically-inspired and at very accessible prices (starting at € 450). Its strategy has always been quite clear: to produce elegant, unpretentious timepieces, neither flashy nor overstated, but with real horological added value thanks to the combination of small, useful complications and meticulous design and finishing. As CEO Alain Spinedi explains: “Since restructuring in 2003, we have practised rigorous cost-management so we can offer a quality product at the lowest possible price. Suffice it to say that this strategy was often perceived as going against the current during that euphoric period in the watch sector that ended in the autumn of 2008. On the positive side, this crisis will at least result in a return to healthier values. Consumers, more knowledgeable than ever, are looking for products offering real value at a fair price. They are no longer content paying for flashy exteriors and aggressive marketing, as was the case before. And so much the better!”

New models true to the brand’s values

This autumn, Louis Erard is offering two new models in its Collection 1931: the Moon Phase and the GMT Large Date, housed in large (44 mm) or more traditionally-sized (40 mm) cases of steel or rose gold, with silvered or anthracite dials. Both models are impressive examples of authentic, unpretentious luxury. For Louis Erard, the essence of luxury is to be found in designs unfettered by fashion, and thus stamped with a certain classicism. Luxury for this watch company is not synonymous with high cost, but with good taste, savoir-faire and an uncompromising approach to choice and quality. In view of this year’s results, this is clearly a philosophy shared by more and more fine watchmaking enthusiasts!