We were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss the importance of creativity for Michel Herbelin with Creative Director and Partner, Mathieu Herbelin.
MWM: How important is design to the HERBELIN brand?
MH: Design has always been a driving force, a requirement, since the creation of the brand in 1947. Michel Herbelin, himself, was fascinated with fashion, sport, traveling and cultivated ‘l’art de vivre’ on a daily basis with elegance and distinction as part of his lifestyle. Today, I am following this “passion for design” that our family and brand embraces. In fact, I started my career as an architect and visual artist then joined Herbelin as a Creative Director.
MWM: Where do you get your design inspiration from?
MH: In my previous experiences before Herbelin: Architecture and Art as much for the creative process as for the follow-up of aesthetic evolutions and upcoming trends. I also draw my inspiration from the 75- years of Herbelin’s valuable history! The combination of these two elements allows me, I hope, to retain a guideline for Herbelin while bringing a new angle, increasingly inspired by ‘architectural design’.
MWM: How do you go about designing a new watch?
MH: We are fortunate to have a design studio as well as our in-house manufacturing workshops. We therefore, have total control over the entire development process. The need to renew our collections together with our own requirements are constant so I also work in collaboration with an external design agency which allows me to exchange ideas about my choices and inspirations. For the design itself.
MWM: What are the key elements of exceptional design?
MH: (1) A global vision and a clear guideline: ‘what is conceived well is clearly stated’. (2) Total control over the entire development process – from the idea to the manufacturing of the product. (3) Close collaboration and a relationship of trust with partners and suppliers. (4) A continuous focus on improvement.
MWM: What are you most proud of in terms of HERBELIN design?
MH: Having evolved the iconic designs of the brand: NEWPORT and ANTARES, by adapting their design to the present. While the new “Newport Slim” collection places Herbelin in the world of the minimalistic design, the “Newport Carbon” collection places the brand in the cutting-edge design using high-tech materials. The new Antarés collection, for its part, extends the initial project into a more sophisticated and ‘fashionable’ context.
MWM: Has technology changed the design process?
MH: Yes of course, in terms of exchanges/access to information. But also in the design process: 3D design and printing. An undeniable gain in creativity, development timing and control of the final look/appearance of the product.
MWM: What is next on the horizon for you?
MH: Making HERBELIN a must-have French watch brand – creative, contemporary and capable of constantly revitalising itself.
Mathieu Herbelin is a Friend of MrWatchMaster