Monochrome Watches
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The Return of L.Leroy Watches and What To Expect in the Near Future

A unique piece for the Only Watch charity announces the return of this illustrious name.

| By Xavier Markl | 5 min read |

Named after the illustrious 18th-century watchmaker Charles Leroy, L.Leroy was acquired in 2004 by Miguel Rodriguez, founder of the Festina Group. If the brand has been dormant for a number of years now, it is preparing its comeback. To whet our appetite about what is to come, L.Leroy is presenting a unique piece for the 2023 edition of the Only Watch charity auction. Hugo Lesizza, International Sales and Marketing Manager of the brand, tells us more about what to expect in the near future.

Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – L. Leroy is donating a watch to Only Watch 2023, which announces the return of the brand which had been dormant for a while now. What is your strategy to revive this illustrious name? 

Hugo Lesizza, L.Leroy – The Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon unique piece for Only Watch is the first step marking the rebirth of L.Leroy after almost a decade of dormancy. And it’s back on the watchmaking scene with a project perfectly in line with its DNA, which boasts over 230 years of history. A history that has seen it reaching the wrists of illustrious Heads of state and Monarchs and playing a leading role in chronometry.

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In terms of products, the brand’s strategy is to develop high-complication timepieces in limited series, in line with what was done in the past with the emblematic Osmior collection (Tourbillon, Perpetual Calendar, Monopusher Chronograph…) and to explore new materials and finishing to make it more contemporary. Until now, L.Leroy watch cases have only been available in solid gold, we believe it is time to break the traditional codes of the brand by introducing materials such as titanium or even stainless steel.

Part of the new project will be the creation of a bespoke service to meet the collector’s aesthetic wishes. Whether it’s for a small detail of personalisation or for the creation of a unique piece in its entirety.

Last but not least, current owners of Leroy watches will have the opportunity to have their watches restored, as an Atelier dedicated to the restoration of vintage watches is being set up.

The official return with the first new L.Leroy collection is planned for the second half of 2024. Distribution will be entrusted to a very limited number of selected prestigious retailers worldwide who will be Ambassadors for the brand. We rely on the existing ones in Paris, Milan, London, New York and St. Barthelemy and we are already in talks with potential new partners to widen the presence in Europe, in Asia and in the Middle East.

L.Leroy was acquired in 2004 by Miguel Rodriguez. What makes 2023 the right time to resurrect the brand and restore its former glory?

The watchmaking industry has changed a lot in the last decade. Tastes are changing. In addition to the well-known and prestigious brands that are certainly not missing in the watch enthusiasts’ collections, the birth of many independent watch brands has expanded horizons and stimulated curiosity. L.Leroy is an independent brand owned by Miguel Rodriguez, also founder and President of Festina Group, which also boasts a remarkable watch and movement production pole in Switzerland. 

A historic pocket watch by Charles Leroy

We have a rich and prestigious heritage from which to take inspiration by adapting it to current trends and the necessary horological know-how to create exclusive masterpieces. We believe that now is the right momentum to approach watch collectors and enthusiasts, who today are more and more interested in discovering new realities.

The creation of Haute Horlogerie watches naturally requires thorough know-how and skills. What is your organization and what are your resources in this respect? The brand is owned by the Festina Group Miguel Rodriguez. How will you work with the group and what will be the benefits for your operations?

L.Leroy watches are aimed above all at collectors and connoisseurs in search of exceptional timepieces in terms of design, performance and finishing and requiring indeed specific know-how and skills. L.Leroy’s relaunch is based on a partnership with a renowned Geneva workshop.

This association and the synergies between our two groups give us total autonomy and complete control over all phases of development and production, from the movements, which are 100% manufacture, to all external components, as well as all the métiers d’art such as dial decoration, gem-setting… With all these resources and expertise, we can look forward to the revival of L.Leroy and restoring it to its former glory.

Back to the unique piece that you have created for the 2023 edition of Only Watch, can you tell us more about it? What has been the inspiration?

For Only Watch, we wanted to create a truly unique timepiece that would respect L.Leroy’s codes and DNA and express the high watchmaking expertise of the brand. It’s a model that perfectly reflects the new strategy of the brand.

The inspiration for the unique piece to be offered at Only Watch 2023

A rare ancient pendant tactile watch made by Leroy around 1810 for the Prince Emil Maximilian Leopold August of Hesse and now part of the Patek Philippe Museum collection, was the starting point for the development of the Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon for Only Watch. It’s a watch with a very complex construction, both in terms of style and mechanics, equipped with a manual winding movement offering a 90-hour power reserve, comprising a flying tourbillon and the minute repeater mechanism.

The case, 43mm in diameter, crafted in polished grade 5 titanium, is fully hand-engraved with a precious floral motif. Not at all an easy operation on titanium given the hardness of the material, which required no fewer than 120 hours of work. This timepiece features a unique and unusual time display. It has a rotating dial boasting a flinqué soleil decoration with a translucent aquamarine varnish finish equipped with a fixed arrow-shaped hand-engraved hour hand. When the dial rotates, the hand points towards the diamond markers set on the hand-engraved bezel and indicates the hour. There are 24 diamonds totalling 1.35 carats, the larger ones mark the hours while the smaller ones indicate the half-hour. To know the precise time, the minute repeater comes into action. The finely finished movement is visible by opening the hand-engraved cover on the caseback.

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2 responses

  1. Has Leroy withdrawn its watch from Only Watch? I cannot find it in the Only Watch site yet on Leroy’s site it is still mentioned

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