Independent watchmaker Mauron Musy recently organised a collectors’ meet in New Delhi, where the brand displayed its ArmureMU03-102, GMT Sport MU04-102, GMT Sport MU04-203, and soon-to-be-launched 41 mm Métiers d'Art timepieces. On the sidelines of the event, GMT India caught up with the brand’s Sales Director, Olivier Bovet, who started his career in the luxury watch industry with the Swatch group in 1999. He spoke to us about Mauron Musy’s latest collections, among other things. Excerpts from the interview:
GMT India: Tell us about your association with Mauron Musy. When and how did you join the brand?
Olivier Bovet (OB): The brand was started in 2013 with R&D. Until 2016, we focused only on research and development. After that, founders Christopher Musy and Eric Mauron started selling the watches. It wasn’t quite smooth sailing and that was the reason why I joined the company as its Sales Director (and also as a shareholder) in 2017.
GMT India: Mauron Musy is a 100% Swiss-crafted brand that takes great pride in its nO-Ring® technology. What is its USP?
OB: The nO-Ring® technology is something different. When you come to the market as a newcomer and do what the other (players) are doing, it is difficult. Today, you need to have a lot of money or you need to have a new system. We decided to find an alternative way of making watches because we did not have a lot of money. With a new system, we reinvented what was already there in the watch industry. Everyone said that having a gasket was a problem. So, we created a mechanical waterproof system without a gasket. This is something that benefits clients. They don’t have to opt for any kind of servicing for the watches and I think this is very important for customers. Also, we give a five-year warranty that can be extended.
GMT India: This year, Mauron Musy created MM02, the brand’s second in-house movement. How different is this from the first one (MM01)?
OB: MM01 was our movement; before that, we were buying movements. It is a 100% Swiss movement, created with La Joux-Perret. The second one is our own movement as well; we came up with the concept and manufactured it. So, it is truly an in-house movement. Also, MM02 has a micro rotor, replacing the regular oscillating weight. This is the prime difference between the two.
MT India: MM02 powers a unisex model: the MU06 UniX. Most of your timepieces are sized at 44 mm, but this model comes with a 41 mm Grade 5 titanium case. Is this a strategic move?
OB: It’s a kind of a strategic move, yes. But I think the market demand is for smaller dimensions. A few years ago, people were demanding 39 mm, 41 mm, 42 mm and so on. Therefore, we wanted to provide this case size to our customers. Moreover, MM03, MM04, MM05, and GMT were men’s watches; we wanted to veer towards women’s watches as well. Japan is a big market for us; they like our 44 mm watches, but they need smaller watches too. It was both a strategic move and the need of the market.
GMT India: A Mauron Musy watch comprises 200 components that are said to be manufactured within a 60-km radius. Is this part of your sustainability/cost reduction strategy?
OB: Reducing cost, definitely no. This is because when you decide to do a 100% Swiss watch, you don’t reduce cost. In fact, it is completely the opposite, you’re increasing cost for sure. The decision was also to have a sustainable watch.
GMT India: The brand has collaborated with independent watchmaker Frédéric Jouvenot to present the HPM1 timepiece. Tell us about this collaboration.
OB: We were talking to him during one of the watch fairs earlier this year. We exchanged a lot of information. Frédéric Jouvenot is a friend of the brand and we wanted to have something different with HPM1, where you don’t read the time like on a normal watch. So, it was a strategic and simple move (I mean, it helps that he lives next door!).
GMT India: What does Mauron Musy expect from the Indian market?
OB: The Indian market has always been important. When I started my career, I was working for the Swatch group and 20 years ago, we decided to go to India. People here are watch-literate. When you start in a country from scratch, it is vital to find the right partner and it's not always easy. When we decided to start working with the Chainani family and The Watch Lab, we held a lot of meetings. Now we have a lot of expectations from this market.
GMT India: The brand seems to favour titanium for its Armure and Skeleton Armure watches, and aged bronze for its GMT Sports watches, with both lines currently available in the Indian market. What’s special about them? How does the brand zero in on materials?
OB: We have two of the best timepieces in our collections: the MM03 and the Skeleton. When we organised the collector’s event with The Watch Lab in New Delhi, a lot of people were interested in the Skeleton. This watch will be important for India. More or less, this is really the model we need everywhere. Regarding the GMT, I think Indians like sports and GMT is the sportiest watch in the collection. The 03 is still the iconic watch in the collection though. But, personally speaking, the Skeleton will be the best-selling product we have for India.
GMT India: What other innovations has the brand championed in recent years? What are the new areas you’re focusing on?
OB: For a brand like ours, we always have to bring something new to the market. With, say, the HPM1, we showed a new way of reading time. We’re thinking of bringing in titanium bracelets. We are expecting new models in 2025; 03 or 06 could be with a titanium bracelet. We need to stay ahead of the curve.
GMT India: What are the major challenges for an independent brand like Mauron Musy? How are they dealt with?
OB: We are riding on the wave of independent brands and we are not the only ones. We know that there are many collectors in the world, that they are looking for new experiences. With a brand like ours, we need to have the big players and we need to have healthy competition with all the independents we have in the market. We need each other, we need MB&F, RESERVOIR, and others like them. We don’t compete as such, but we need the big players, like Audemars Piguet and Rolex, because they are showing us the way. We know our customers have those Patek Philippes and now people are looking at new brands, and we are one of them. We need to take advantage of this period.