LVMH’s L’Epée Acquisition Hints at Broader Strategy in Luxury Horology

A Family Affair

frederic arnault tag heuer ceo LUXUO

At the start of 2024, Frédéric Arnault — heir to the LVMH empire — was appointed the role of CEO of LVMH Watches. This was a pivotal move in LVMH’s watches and jewellery division where it not only required Frédéric to flex his credentials in steering the ship of various luxury watch brands but also represented LVMH’s forward-thinking vision to brand itself as a global frontrunner in high-end watchmaking.

Now, LVMH’s acquisition of Swiza — the owner of L’Epée 1839 — only further illustrates the group’s determination to conquer the world of watchmaking.

Read More: LUXUO Leaders: CEO of L’Epée, Arnaud Nicolas on the Art of Luxury Watchmaking

Why Now?

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As it stands, LVMH is already at the forefront of fashion, being arguably the most profitable luxury fashion conglomerate in the world. However, it appears as if the French luxury giant may be in third place behind its Swiss competitors in luxury watchmaking. The Swatch Group (which includes Breguet, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Glashütte and Omega) and Richemont (whose brands include A. Lange & Sohne, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai and Piaget) continue to dominate the horological space and by acquiring a prestigious Swiss manufacturer in Swiza, LVMH gains a foothold in watchmaking and prevents its competitors from further expanding their strength in the space.

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Read More: L’Epée 1839 and The Unnamed Society Create An Unimaginable Timepiece

It is also worth noting that L’Epée 1839 is not just a luxury watch brand, the company is known for their authentic objets d’art, highlighting exceptional mechanisms and intricacies of high-end clocks and is described as a jewel of “Haute Horlogerie”. LVMH on the other hand, houses some of the most famed jewellery manufacturers including Bvlgari, Tiffany & Co., Chaumet, Fred and Repossi. L’Epée 1839 sits at the intersection of art, watchmaking and to a certain extent, jewellery, making the acquisition a powerful demonstration of LVMH’s ability to operate across different luxury segments to master (and perhaps combine) each maison’s savoir-faire to create not only watches and jewellery but rather, one-of-a-kind objects they desire.

Read More: Birth of the L’Epee Revolver Clock: The Bang created with The Unnamed Society

What’s Next?

the division LVMH LEpee 1839

LVMH how has the skills of more than 80 designers, engineers, watchmakers, mechanics and employees including L’Epée CEO and creative director Arnaud Nicolas at their disposal who have mastered the art of mechanical and technical design elements. It is therefore, only inevitable that LVMH continue to explore avenues partnerships and collaborations, adding on to a portfolio that includes Tiffany, which presented a carriage clock in the shape of the first Formula 1 cars from the 1950s and Louis Vuitton also called on the expertise of the craftsmen at L’Epée 1839 to create a hot-air balloon, a symbol regularly used by the Maison.

Read More: LVMH Revenues Soared in 2023 Despite Economic Challenges

Keep Your Friends Close & Compeition Closer

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TAG Heuer Monaco Split Seconds watch unveiled at this year’s Watches and Wonders Geneva

One cannot fail to mention that LVMH is set to join the Watches and Wonders Geneva Foundation Board alongside Chanel and Hermès. Watches and Wonders Geneva is one of the largest events in watchmaking and brings together the biggest players in the global watchmaking industry under one roof with 54 exhibiting brands and 49,000 visitors at its last edition in April 2024. Watches and Wonders Geneva Foundation was an initiative of set up by Rolex, Richemont and Patek Philippe in 2022. As a member of the board, LVMH will have an influence on strategic initiatives including event planning, brand participation alongside enhancing LVMH’s visibility within the global watchmaking community. Above all, with a seat at the table, LVMH will have valuable insights into market trends, consumer preferences, and technological advancements in the luxury watch sector which can shape product development strategies and marketing initiatives. With the next Watches and Wonders Geneva slated to be held from 1 to 7 April 2025, LVMH will have a pivotal role in shaping the future of this influential event.

Read More: What Sustainability at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2024 Really Looked Like

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LVMH also understands the power of timing. While the world gears up on the Summer 2024 Olympics, LVMH is using the games to leverage growth in brand awareness. With mere weeks to the games, it appears as if the team at LVMH understand the art of multitasking. The 2024 Olympics may be a highlight of the year but a takeover of L’Epée 1839 sees LVMH edge out its competition in The Swatch Group and Richemont while having a seat at the Watches and Wonders Geneva Foundation Board means the conglomerate is stepping up to prepare for long-term strategic expansions.

For more on the latest in luxury watch reads, click here.

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