Luxury watch : Why Aiôn Group is shaking up the French watch industry

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The Aiôn watchmaking group will not be setting up in the historic Franc-Comté cradle of watchmaking, nor in Switzerland, but in La Ciotat in the Bouches-du-Rhône department. By relocating to France a Swiss factory that it has just acquired, the producer of the luxury brand Lornet wishes to revitalise and relaunch the “made in France” watchmaking industry. An announcement that is already causing a stir in the sector.

 

Can Made in France compete with Swiss watchmaking ? In any case, this is the challenge that the Aiôn group intends to take up, a holding company with a mission created on the Côte d’Azur in 2021 by four founders, and endowed with 20 million euros of capital.

 

Among them, Anthony Simao, who in 2016 created the Lornet brand in homage to the name of his maternal grandfather, making a watch that is almost entirely French.  Anthony Simao has joined forces with Olimpiu Salcou, a specialist in business management, the financier Céline Guth and the investor Hubert Patural.

 

After various proposals in Lyon, Strasbourg, Nantes, Montélimar and the Pays de Gex, Aiôn Group chose La Ciotat for various reasons: the territorial dynamics, the proximity of the international airport, the prospect of having available land and the existence of a certain purchasing power on the French Riviera.

 

Aiôn Group plans to build an XXL factory with a production capacity of 400,000 movements and watches per year by 2025 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, at La Ciotat. This 30,000 square meter site is expected to house the manufacture of “made in France” timepieces. Since November 2021, the company has already set up shop in a temporary 2,600 square meter building to supply the French market.

 

The investment for this project is 60 million euros, in partnership with public aid and that of the region. It is also a winner of the France Recovery Plan and should benefit from the new France 2030 industrialisation aid scheme. The project should create more than 160 jobs within 5 years on the La Ciotat site.

 

A dubious watchmaking sector

 

In France and Switzerland, in the watchmaking world, the project is perplexing. The Lornet company “has left quite a few slates“, according to a local economic observer interviewed by Les Echos. The Burgundy-Franche-Comté region, which was asked to support the project along with the French government and Bpifrance, finally passed on the project. “We had met with them several times and had judged that the conditions were not met to allow us to position ourselves on this issue … We lacked answers and details on investment, ownership, business model … ” , says the cabinet of the president of the region. says the office of the president of the region.

 

It would seem that it is especially the immense proportions of the project which seemed unrealistic to the actors of the sector. Indeed, in an investigation published on March 16 on the Aiôn project, the Swiss daily newspaper “Le Temps” claimed that it would be “absolutely impossible” to set up a production line capable of producing 400,000 movements in just three years. To be continued.

 

 

Lire aussi > LUXURY WATCHES : IWC TAKES ITS FIRST STEPS IN NIGERIA

 

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The Aiôn watchmaking group will not be setting up in the historic Franc-Comté cradle of watchmaking, nor in Switzerland, but in La Ciotat in the Bouches-du-Rhône department. By relocating to France a Swiss factory that it has just acquired, the producer of the luxury brand Lornet wishes to revitalise and relaunch the “made in France” watchmaking industry. An announcement that is already causing a stir in the sector.

 

Can Made in France compete with Swiss watchmaking ? In any case, this is the challenge that the Aiôn group intends to take up, a holding company with a mission created on the Côte d’Azur in 2021 by four founders, and endowed with 20 million euros of capital.

 

Among them, Anthony Simao, who in 2016 created the Lornet brand in homage to the name of his maternal grandfather, making a watch that is almost entirely French.  Anthony Simao has joined forces with Olimpiu Salcou, a specialist in business management, the financier Céline Guth and the investor Hubert Patural.

 

After various proposals in Lyon, Strasbourg, Nantes, Montélimar and the Pays de Gex, Aiôn Group chose La Ciotat for various reasons: the territorial dynamics, the proximity of the international airport, the prospect of having available land and the existence of a certain purchasing power on the French Riviera.

 

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The Aiôn watchmaking group will not be setting up in the historic Franc-Comté cradle of watchmaking, nor in Switzerland, but in La Ciotat in the Bouches-du-Rhône department. By relocating to France a Swiss factory that it has just acquired, the producer of the luxury brand Lornet wishes to revitalise and relaunch the “made in France” watchmaking industry. An announcement that is already causing a stir in the sector.

 

Can Made in France compete with Swiss watchmaking ? In any case, this is the challenge that the Aiôn group intends to take up, a holding company with a mission created on the Côte d’Azur in 2021 by four founders, and endowed with 20 million euros of capital.

 

Among them, Anthony Simao, who in 2016 created the Lornet brand in homage to the name of his maternal grandfather, making a watch that is almost entirely French.  Anthony Simao has joined forces with Olimpiu Salcou, a specialist in business management, the financier Céline Guth and the investor Hubert Patural.

 

After various proposals in Lyon, Strasbourg, Nantes, Montélimar and the Pays de Gex, Aiôn Group chose La Ciotat for various reasons: the territorial dynamics, the proximity of the international airport, the prospect of having available land and the existence of a certain purchasing power on the French Riviera.

 

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Thanks to its extensive knowledge of these sectors, the Luxus + editorial team deciphers for its readers the main economic and technological stakes in fashion, watchmaking, jewelry, gastronomy, perfumes and cosmetics, hotels, and prestigious real estate.

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