Drowning out the pool of greenwashing that often swathes over the industry with mock intent, Maurice Lacroix turns its hand to a newer generation of consumers, in order to defend the planet and broaden the audience of watchmaking enthusiasts.
‘What does a drop make?’ asks Maurice Lacroix. Ask any design aesthetes or hypebeasts and they’ll tell you in simple terms it means a long wait list for a highly exclusive launch. Think Supreme x LV or the Gucci x Balenciaga collaboration that ruffled the internet’s feathers, and then some. You might still be trying to get your hands on the UGG x Telfar hybrid boots, but through the regalia of these unions, gilded in fanfare, what does the drop actually mean?
For Maurice Lacroix, the luxury Swiss watchmaking brand founded in the heights of the seventies, finding its position amongst the vastly growing watchmarket has been integral to the brand’s identity. So much so that, despite its timely foundations in the decade of nihilism and funk, Maurice Lacroix re-shifted its entire brand almost six year ago, entirely to echo the voices of the zeitgeist. “It began with emails I was noticing in my inbox,” shares Stephane Waser, CEO of the brand. “What do you do with your packaging?” they’d ask, or “is this vegan?” People were watching, and a handful of emails were emblematic of an entire generation of conscious consumers thinking the same thing.
But the thunderous sound of greenwashing, which rears its artificial and unauthentic self everyday into the industry, is far from the chorus at Maurice Lacroix. Acknowledging the steadying shift in young consumers, and their attitudes to material goods, purchasing for purpose and longevity, rather than impulse meant that the only way to communicate to this new generation of voices was to create something of value that inhabits their values. The result? A watch by and for the next entourage of young consumers.
With immersive experience ranking high on the agenda, Maurice Lacroix set out to create a new timepiece indicative of its new and growing audience, and not only that, but an entire 360 degree journey alongside it. If you’re going to drop something, you may as well do it with a bang. Hosting an intimate programme with industry voices and Gen Z creatives, the Swiss brand revisits its own heritage, following the release of the Aikon model in 2016, the new AIKON #tide shares the same attributes as other members of AIKON family, but is formed of #tide ocean-bound upcycled plastic combined with glass fibre. The resultant composite material is twice as hard as standard plastic, five times more resistant and has a carbon footprint significantly less than the production of virgin PET. The bezel, case, case back, crown, end-piece and buckle on this new model are all made from this composite material. It takes 17 bottles to make one fabulous watch and its tailor made packaging, 100% made of #tide ocean material®.
Often you’ll find watch brands attempting to straddle their sustainability input by making a strap or donating proceeds to charity, but for the Aikon watch, the entire case is designed to be noticed, not only for its color but for its consideration of the planet. “The word sustainability is a huge word for everybody these days. But I would prefer to change that and talk more about traceability and transparency,” suggests Thomas Schori, the CEO of the Swiss upcycling company, using an innovative method to turn 100% ocean-bound plastic into a new premium raw material. “And It’s important that we’re not misused as a marketing tool either.”
Hailing authenticity, it makes sense that Maurice Lacroix decided to launch the new charismatic line in Miami, a melting pot of cultures and young voices carving out their creative identity through the city’s vivacious pulse. So much so that the own internal infrastructure of the brand champions young talent, giving a platform to young voices. “I always say, you cannot market a product when you don’t understand who you’re selling to and when you don’t have the mindset internally. Otherwise we’d be running around with suit and ties at his event,” continues Wasser, imparting his wisdom from the seashore as guests and friends of the brand alike grouped together in the splendor of the Sunshine State to truly become one with the elements, and Maurice Lacroix’s cherishing of them.
As such, Maurice Lacroix has dedicated itself to selecting friends of the brand and ambassadors that demonstrate these values, rather than appealing to A-Listers and world-renowned players; instead they welcome a cohort of bikers, dancers, actors, sports players that are revolutionizing their field. Thus, the bold spectrum of watches, from neon greens to pastel blues, is replicated by the brand’s choice of wearers, innovative, playful tastemakers who are using their artwork to inspire change. On the streets of Miami, brimmed with bodega’s, biking bowls and graffitied pavements, there is an endless feeling that the world is certainly our canvas; we’re free to roam and explore and embrace as we see fit. But in return, as partisans of creativity who depend on this space around us, we must use our dexterity as artists to preserve the power of the drop, not just to niche kind, but the pastoral value of the drop. After all, if there’s no planet, there is no space for us to perform and simply be. How will salvaging the water in the ocean save the planet? How will an exclusive drop in the world of horology make change? “Why did we propose this? Because a drop leads to a tide,” smiles Wasser.