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Odd couples

Odd couples

Wednesday, 02 March 2011
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

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2 min read

We’re accustomed to seeing watchmakers associate their image with big-name personalities from the worlds of sport, film and fashion. Now some are taking a different tack, such as Jaeger-LeCoultre with comic strips, or Parmigiani and poker.

The link between a poker player, however talented, and a Fine Watch brand may seem tenuous at best. Parmigiani begs to differ. The brand recently announced a partnership with Bertrand Grospellier, or ElkY as he’s known to fans after the Elkantar role-play character. Born in Melun (France) in 1981, ElkY has pocketed $6 million in live tournament winnings so far. An international star on the poker circuit, he is now represented by Lagardère Unlimited, a division of the Lagardère conglomerate dealing in sports marketing and event management. “ElkY and Parmigiani share the same essential values of independence and creativity, which are the mark of those who aim to succeed,” declared Jean-Marc Jacot, CEO of Parmigiani Fleurier.

Says Catia Hofmann, director of communications at Parmigiani: “Poker is no longer considered to be a game of chance but a game of strategy. We’ve set up an amateur poker tournament circuit in luxury hotels to amuse clients, guests and the press. Poker has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Parmigiani sets out to be present in fields which are as yet unexploited by luxury.” Grospellier was, Hofmann said, “A phenomenon in poker. ElkY stands for originality, creativity and success, which is what Parmigiani aims for.” The last word goes to ElkY himself: “Anyone wishing to excel in poker should remember that detail is of critical importance. Nothing can be left to chance. It takes true passion to enter a field and rise to this level of expertise. These are the same qualities that drew me to Parmigiani.”

Coming soon, an erotic watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre?

Switching registers, Jaeger-LeCoultre has announced its surprise partnership with Philippe Chappuis, alias Zep, a hugely popular French comic-strip artist who is best-known as the creator of Titeuf (16 million books sold in 2008 with translations in 25 languages). “Zep will customise a one-off Reverso in honour of this iconic watch’s 80th anniversary. It will then be auctioned to raise money for a Swiss charity at a gala evening in late August 2011 for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polo Masters Geneva,” the Le Sentier firm declared.

Zep, a hugely popular French comic-strip artist who is best-known as the creator of Titeuf © Jaeger-LeCoultre
Zep, a hugely popular French comic-strip artist who is best-known as the creator of Titeuf © Jaeger-LeCoultre

Knowing that Zep is also the author of a sex education book for children and another off-beat book on erotic fantasies, we can look forward to an “earthy” illustration to complement Jaeger-LeCoultre’s legendary rigour. No doubt Zep’s tour of the Manufacture will provide plenty of inspiration. Watch this space!

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