After models created for General De Gaulle, Winston Churchill, the Elysée or the GIGN, LIP has created the watch that will be worn by the elite troops of the Special Land Forces. It will be offered to the public in a very limited series.
For more than a century, Lip has gone through everything, wars, social crises and especially industrial disasters, but the watchmaker of Besançon created in 1280 is still there. This historic mark gave the time to all the presidents, General De Gaulle and Emmanuel Macron or almost. Even Napoleon would have received one created by the father of the founder of Lip, Emmanuel Lippman, historians argue.
For Christmas, it will equip the Special Forces of the Army with the Nautic-Fantôme, a model designed in partnership with the Special Land Forces Command (COM FST). These elite units are made up of the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, from the parachute dragon regiment and the 4th special forces helicopter regiment.
“The boss of the COM FST wanted to offer his troops a French watch, robust, precise and usable in operation. As for the model created for the GIGN, we started with the Nautic, a historical model, to create it “, explains to BFM Business Pierre-Alain Bérard, Managing Director of Lip.
The acronym of the elite troops
To stay FFOMECBLOT , an acronym which defines the rules of military camouflage *, the parts have been sandblasted and blackened so as not to reflect the light. The glass has undergone a special anti-reflective treatment to make the watch almost invisible.
Like that of the GIGN, the Lip Phantom special forces watch was designed from the Nautic © Lip model “In the blink of an eye, the acronym of these elite troops was printed on the dial with a special ink that makes it appear and disappear according to the light “, specifies the clockmaker from Franche-Comté. The movement is Japanese since there is no longer a manufacturers in France, but it arrives in spare parts to be assembled by hand in Besançon.
“Our workers were particularly proud to participate in its realization “, specifies Pierre-Alain Bérard. Initially, the Phantom will only be produced ‘to 2500 copies, i.e. the number of members of the French Special Forces in activity. In February, a limited series of around a thousand copies will be offered to the general public at a price of around 641 euros. Pre-orders will open after the end of the year celebrations.
From General De Gaulle to Emmanuel Macron
The price may seem low, but for Pierre-Alain Bérard, it is the right price. It is only surprising in view of the excessively high prices for watches which are often not worth them.
“The public has become accustomed to prices out of sync with reality. Nothing justifies selling a watch for the price of a car, except those in precious metals and adorned with jewelry. Lip has always been a popular brand aimed at the people “, recalls the leader. Its history bears witness to this, especially during the social movements of the years 70. At that time, this jewel of watchmaking employed more than a thousand people. The arrival of Asian quartz watches was almost fatal. Today, Lip employs around a hundred people in the historic factory for a turnover of 8 million euros.
Its star models are historic like the Himalayas created for the mountaineer Maurice Herzog, General De Gaulle or the Winston Churchill ordered by the French government to offer it to the British leader in 1867.
Recently the Dauphine worn by Emmanuel Macron, also sold on the site of the Elysée , has entered the legend. It is even the most prized item in the presidential online store. Launched in 1948, its name is a tribute to Renault’s Dauphine, the best-selling car in France from 1957 to 1961. Today, it is adorned with a tricolor bracelet.
“If President Macron wears it during a television appearance, the orders leave within the hour “, confides Pierre-Alain Bérard. Created in 1867, Lip has produced millions of watches, most of which still work. Moreover, every day the factory receives models to be adjusted or repaired which it entrusts to the Horlogerie de Battant, in Besançon, a specialist from Franche-Comté whose mission is to revive the old tocantes that have marked the history of France or more often those are transmitted from generation to generation.
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