Having recently joined forces with LECLAIREUR, FOB PARIS celebrated its new collection by taking over the store on rue Sévigné for an exceptional soirée. With sensational light installations, the cream of the DJ crop, an ultra-exclusive guest list and a blazing dance floor, all the necessary ingredients were united for a torrid night, palpitating to the beat of seconds ticked off on the hottest time pieces in town. For LECLAIREUR, Sari, Laurent and Aurélien looked back on an evening that worked wonders to rekindle spirits chilled by the winter, and hinted at their new projects that will be accompanied by the spring.
LECLAIREUR: A dance floor at LECLAIREUR?
FOB PARIS: We were absolutely set on celebrating three years of FOB Paris, highlighting the new, exceptional relationship we have built up with our favourite client, as we find kinship in so many respects. It struck us as really important to do something together. Holding the event during Fashion Week also allowed us to present our new line – really the most beautiful way of celebrating our third anniversary. This is the store that represents the avant-garde world-wide and more specifically in Paris. For a watch brand it is quite unusual to do what we do, but that first year we said to ourselves when we dropped into LECLAIREUR that “we would love to be sold there”. To have a party like the one we organised, light years away from the usual glitzy whing-ding, just two years later, was cool! We sought to stage an event that really measured up to the occasion, that would stand out in Fashion Week. One crucial element of our universe is music. So we set up a real venue with three DJ sets, essentially electro-minimal, and a live performance by Primitive and all their machines in the middle. The FOB network is made up of creative artists who work with video, photography and music. So it’s our Parisian circle, a whole universe of artistic creation, in a sense, that we put forward.
L: Currently you are showcasing three lines of watches. How is the design process going for you?
F: The project started back in 2009, and it took us three or four years to launch the first product. We called our first collection Rehab, because of its rather sombre dimension. At the same time, our watchmaking universe, very mechanical, very qualitative, adds a lot of elegance. The work is very elaborate. But the term ‘rehab’ also came to us because we were rehabilitating an old product, the pocket watch, which was the first source of inspiration for the brand. This can be found in the general DNA of FOB Paris, which mixes different eras, the very modern avant garde and traditional watchmaking.
Our next creation, the new line that will be coming out in a few months time, will be premiered at the end of March at Baselworld, before coming to enrich our permanent collection. We have integrated our branding in all the wrist bands, and with a notably bigger, more elaborate casing, which respects our universe, but expresses it in a slightly more exuberant, graphic, visual manner. It is a watch that is sumptuous down to the last detail, in the different layers of the watch face, the dial, the detail on the edges, the crown, and so on. We will also present novelties twice a year, alternating the men’s and women’s collections, with series linked to one another, allowing us to renew parts of the line.
L: What secrets can you reveal about your clockwork mechanisms?
F: Our watches are manufactured in Paris, the mechanism is Japanese, and it’s visible on all our watches. We call it “the skeleton mechanism”. We sought out the most attractive, most reliable mechanism, in harmony with our price range, and we found the perfect product. Now, for our new range, we are going to intervene visually on the mechanism.
L: You work together as a team of three. How do you divide the labor?
F: For the artistic direction of the brand, we work together and do everything as a trio, from meetings to regular progress reports, from the first sketches to development. Then we communicate directly with our factories and suppliers to adapt our ideas and prototypes. There are approximately 18 stages in the manufacturing, from the concept to the watch, and 12 months’ work.
L: You are your own ambassadors, so you wear your watches. Which are your personal favorites?
F (Aurélien): I’m wearing the mat black Rehab wrist watch, a mat black 40mm watch with a wrist strap that is made of Italian calfskin leather. This is possibly the model that is most representative of the brand today. It’s my favourite because it’s the first model with a wrist strap for which we combined two of our defining characteristics: a very modern classicism and the underground milieu – in order to create a very elegant product. This watch band represents all the elements that we like in the brand and that we like in everyday life.
F (Laurent): I’m wearing one of our brand new models, but I prefer the mat black one too! It required so much development, so much to-ing and fro-ing, it came up against so many technical problems, with the engineering detail designed to stabilise the watch inside its casing… we had to work on the aesthetics of the outline and we had to work leather for a first time, because we didn’t do wrist straps before. We had to produce a dozen very advanced prototypes, ten very different versions, before validating this one.
L: Which of you three is an engineer?
F: All three of us are! Engineers with an immense passion for the world of design in general. What we wanted above all else was to create something.