On the great glacier with Laurent Lecamp

Laurent Lecamp, luxury expert and head of Montblanc’s watch division, doesn’t let extreme weather get in the way of his stories

Laurent Lecamp, luxury expert and head of Montblanc’s watch division, doesn’t let extreme weather get in the way of his stories

“Welcome to the ice cave, in the middle of the Mer de Glace”, Laurent Lecamp begins. The director of Montblanc’s watch division almost screams to be heard as he braves a gale-force wind and icy rain. France’s largest glacier, the ‘Sea of ​​Ice’ is 7km long and 200m deep and lies in the Chamonix Valley, where some of the world’s famous mountaineers have mastered ice walking. Which brings us back to Lecamp’s stories – months before Watches & Wonders, he chose this location to talk about his debut collection at Montblanc since he took over as head of watch.

It’s also the perfect backdrop for passing the baton from legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner to mountaineer Nimsdai Purja. Messner was one of the first to climb Mount Everest without the aid of supplemental oxygen in 1978, and in 2020 Montblanc created the 1858 Geosphere in his honor. Meanwhile, one of the watches launched on Watches & Wonders last week is the 1858 Geosphere Zero Oxygen watch. In May, it will be tested by mountaineer Nimsdai Purja during an ascent of Mount Everest, again without supplemental oxygen.

The 1858 Geosphere Zero Oxygen and the 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date

The 1858 Geosphere Zero Oxygen and the 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date

Lecamp, 43, has been credited with bringing a special kind of energy to the house. A lover of nature, he talks about being a runner and prefers the extreme weather of the mountains. “When I was a kid, I always kissed the trees,” he chuckles. “I still do.” Lecamp climbs Mont Blanc in August. “When I joined the company, I asked them to give me as many books as possible to read about the brand. And realized that, despite its heritage, nothing specific has been done to celebrate this famous glacier,” he explains. This month’s launches therefore include the brand’s first watch for divers, the 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date.

It comes with a dial, in three colors, which resembles the characteristics of ice in glaciers. Lecamp recounts how they rejected nearly 50 glacier dials before getting to what he wanted, using an ancient technique called Gratte Boise for the textured effect. “They said to me ‘you are crazy, the thickness of the dial is 0.4 mm, how do you want to show the grooves, openings and colors?’ I knew we had to meet the right dial maker. It’s magical when it catches the light,” he continues. The watch meets the ISO 6425 standard for diving, costs less than 3000 euros and has an engraving of an iceberg and a diver on the back of the cabinet.

From left to right: Diane Schumacher, Reinhold Messner, Vincent Montalescot (Executive Vice President Marketing at Montblanc), Nimsdai Purja, Laurent Lecamp (Managing Director of Watch Division at Montblanc), and Stephanie Radl (Director International Public Relations & Cultural Affairs at Montblanc)

From left to right: Diane Schumacher, Reinhold Messner, Vincent Montalescot (Executive Vice President Marketing at Montblanc), Nimsdai Purja, Laurent Lecamp (Managing Director of Watch Division at Montblanc), and Stephanie Radl (Director International Public Relations & Cultural Affairs at Montblanc) | Photo credit: Julien M Hekimian

Perceived value is one of the strategies that both Lecamp and Montblanc CEO Nicolas Baretzki have focused on this year. Lecamp, who was Executive Vice-President to Carl F Bucherer and has been to India many times during that time, notes that traveling to Chennai, Hyderabad and more than 14 Indian cities taught him many lessons. “I love India. When you are with an Indian client, they often ask for a discount. And they all want a great story.”

In 2015 Lecamp wrote a book, independent luxury, where he explored the challenges of creating independent luxury brands in gastronomy, automobiles, jewellery, timepieces and fashion accessories. He also has the experience of founding his own independent watch brand, Cyrus, in 2010.

This month also sees the launch of the new 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow LE88, which pays tribute to the goddess. But what we’re most excited about is the 1858 Geosphere Zero Oxygen watch, placed in an oxygen-free vacuum compartment by the watchmakers at Montblanc. This prevents fogging and oxidation and protects the timepiece. At just 290 pieces (for the 29,031 feet Purja will climb), the watch retails for $8,600. As for Lecamp, his next challenge will be to help Montblanc fans experience the Purja ascent in May. A live stream maybe?

SOURCE : www.thehindu.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.