The Man In The Middle - Arnauld Lapierre
A world for those who seek beauty in life. A market for dreamers, investors, and those who appreciate the value of the buying experience just as much as they value the newly made investment of a high end timepiece. As with almost all luxury markets, there are always individuals behind the curtain, cranking the gears and making the connections. One of the top guns of this under-the-radar industry is Arnauld Lapierre. Arnauld is the landing point between luxury timepiece brands, retailers, and consumers. He’s a master of the trade, having worked in the industry of luxury for over 26 years. With evident expertise in all corners of the international market, Arnauld is on the forefront of the new changes and challenges never before seen by the high-end market of luxury timepieces.
Jamie Agoglia: How did you become the conduit between brands and buyers?
Arnauld Lapierre: The way it works is thatusually we get contacted by word of mouthabout working in a specific territory. Buyers want to use our services because of our expertise of the market and because of the contacts of clients we have. I’ve always been interested in beauty. Beauty is everywhere- it can be found in art, music, in clothes. For men, watches are one of the only luxury accessories we have. I got my first luxury watch when I was 15. I always wanted to work in an industry where the beauty is there, and I decided to work with watches. It could have been jewelry or clothes, but I’ve been working with watches for the last 26 years.
Why is it that brands don’t sell directly to retailers?
Most of the time, brands cannot be sold everywhere, so they count on us to get local distributors to represent their interest. We are the answer to when a brand wants to develop internationally and they first need support locally.
How is business?
Watches have been getting tougher because of why and how people are buying them. Watches are a more recent invention, historically. Jewelry has been around for a long time, back to ancient Egypt and beyond. Wrist watches only started to become popular during the 20th century, before that it was pocket watches and we don’t know what’s next. Everyone uses their phone for the times now, so we’re really seeing an evolution of how we access time. But timepieces are a luxury jewelry that men can wear, so the purpose of why people are buying these high-end watches is definitely shifting from buying out of necessity to tell time to buying it as a luxury piece to own and invest with. So the purpose of it is really shifting and that affects the market today.
What have you learned from being apart of such a unique and unseen niche of a multimillion dollar international industry?
In the luxury industry, you learn that what is important is what is behind a brand. You learn that the perception of the brand from the eyes of the consumer is very important. Luxury is about dreaming, luxury is about the experience you have when you buy it and when you wear it. Building a brand around a dream takes time, it’s not just the material aspect of it that is sought after. It’s a beautiful thing to guide them through new territories and guide them through new territories. It’s very rewarding to contribute to the success of brands in new territories.
How was the market changed over the years?
It’s a very challenging time that we are in, everything that was known before has been challenged today, especially watches. With the internet, now consumers can buy anything they want at anytime. With that new accessibility, it’s put a challenge on the brands and the luxury experience as a whole that was originally sought after. On top of that, we have social media, which has increased the strength of the strongest brands, and that strength is based off of people desiring that item that they saw someone else post. Social media also opens up a new market that didn’t exist before, which is the second hand market, and it was only developed because of the internet. In some ways, yes, it is a strength, but the problem is that it strengthens brands that were already strong. This has really put the entire industry into a new and challenging time. Everything we knew before is changing. With the ever changing social media platforms and with expanding globalization through the continual development of the internet, it is clear that the market of high-end goods is in the midst of major changes. Yet one thing will always remain is the timelessness of a luxury timepiece.