Leading the Legacy: Exclusive Interview with the CEO of Breguet, Lionel A Marca

By The Time Place Magazine

With a remarkable three-decade-long journey at the Swatch Group, Lionel A Marca’s exceptional expertise has shaped him into a true artisan of the craft. As a prominent contributor to the House of Breguet’s resounding success, Lionel A Marca became an invaluable asset to the Maison’s legacy.

Announced as the new CEO of the House of Breguet, Lionel A Marca possesses not only the commercial expertise required to oversee a renowned brand but also extensive experience as a trained watchmaker. Under the esteemed presidency of Mr. Marc A. Hayek and the sound guidance of Mr. A Marca, Breguet is set to soar to new heights, driven by a shared vision of excellence and innovation. The seasoned professional provides a glimpse of what lies ahead for Breguet as he settles into his new role.

Breguet Type 20 Chronographe
Breguet Type 20 Chronographe 2057

On a personal level, would you like to share what piqued your interest in joining the Breguet team?

When the Hayek family told me about this position, I wanted to learn more about the brand. I knew the history, of course, but not in depth. I discovered a genius. Abraham-Louis Breguet was an outstanding watchmaker, but also a technician and a designer. He had a very avant-garde vision and founded modern watchmaking. It is therefore a source of pride for me to join a brand such as this and to perpetuate the history written almost 250 years ago.

In terms of your personal contribution to Breguet and, more specifically, to its beautiful diversity of watch collections, what big change or improvement would you like to focus on?

We have just re-launched the Type XX Collection, an iconic collection because of its history. It complements our lines very well with its sportier appearance than our other pieces. We also have great projects for the Heritage collection that we are working on. For the rest of our collections, the objective is not to change everything but to modify small things: to complete them with missing complications, to rework the design, that sort of thing. You don’t have to change for the sake of changing, it’s useless and it can lead to losing the identity of the brand.

Breguet Type XX Chronographe
Breguet Type XX Chronographe 2067

Can you briefly describe the creative and technical process behind Breguet watches?

We invest a lot in the R&D department to find the innovation that will make a difference. The original idea requires time and multiple trials. For example, last year we released Marine Hora Mundi. The development of its dial made up of different layers with a three-dimensional effect required several years of testing before finding the formula that works. An idea can take three to seven years to materialise. It all depends on the size of the project. We are constantly discussing the progress of each of them with our engineers.

Are there any misconceptions about Breguet that you would like to refute?

The idea is that our customers are mainly old people, conservative in style and that the Breguet watch is that of old bourgeois families. When I travel around the world, I myself am surprised at how young our customers are. The fact that in Europe our customers already have a certain “experience” is surely linked with economic growth and therefore young people in Europe have a more limited purchasing power than young people in Asia, for example. And concerning the style, precisely if you look at our Tradition collection, it has a very contemporary design and is perfectly suited to a younger audience.

With fierce competition in the luxury watch industry, how do you keep Breguet compelling to customers?

The secret to success is consistency. We are not a fashion/flashy brand that multiplies exploit to gain publicity. This is really not our vision of watchmaking. Our hallmark is quality; to be able to offer again and again pieces shaped by hand with the greatest respect for watchmakers. We never release a watch without it having undergone a series of tests and meeting our requirements. Breguet is a brand of excellence and since I have been working for this house, I have constantly had customers come to confirm to me how proud they are to wear such a technically reliable brand. To answer your question: we are surprised because we are one of the rare manufacturers to benefit from so much in-house craftsmanship, to cultivate this and to train specialists. Our engine-turning workshop is also one of the largest in watchmaking. It is a pride for us.

caseback breguet type 20
Case back of the Breguet Type 20 Chronographe 2057

In your opinion, what are customers looking for today in terms of craftsmanship and design?

They are looking for reliable watches of excellent manufacture, easy to use and display an original design. I am thinking, for example, of our Tradition collection, which allows you to admire its entire mechanism through the dial. It is a collection that leaves no margin for error since the components are visible and each defect is detectable in an instant!

What can we expect from Breguet for the coming months?

Our Type XX collection has been recently reintroduced, which is iconic for our brand. Its movement required several years of development. This was really our big launch for this year. Besides that, several very elaborate models will be released before the holidays, especially in women’s watches. What I can tell you is that 2023 is a year rich in diversity at Breguet, with new products in all ranges. But I’m not going to tell you everything now, it’s always better to be surprised!

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