Mauboussin or the Affordable Luxury

at mauboussin on April 15th New York

“Luxury should be the universal language of emotion” wrote Alain Nemarq, CEO of Mauboussin in Le Monde last February in an article entitled The Modernity of Luxury. The new watch Amour Le Jour se Leve (stainless steel, mother of pearl and diamond), unveiled last Thursday in Mauboussin’s Madison store is all about emotion. On the site Franck Sinatra spells the four letters of LOVE while Elsa Zylberstein (Cesar in 2009  for “Il y a Longtemps Que je T’aime’ by Philippe Claudel) features a new ad campaign for the luxury jeweler to be reavealed this week in the press and in New york. She is acknowledging that “My emotions often overcome my reason” in an article featured in Madame Figaro where she appears dressed down in some Dessous Chics ( The emotion at Mauboussin is -…well – the design: the watch with its simple and clean design yet sophisticated signature  is appealing , .. but also the price at $495 dollars. Hired by the new owner of Mauboussin, Dominique Fremont who bought the brand in 2002, Alain Nemarq has been working hard on disturbing the peacefulness of the Place Vendome. “Les temps ont changé. L’heure est venue de baisser les prix, d’accélérer la politique de création.” (‘Time have changed. Time has come to decrease prices, and accelerate the process of creation”), writes Nemarq in Le Monde. And it seems to work! Mauboussin’s revenues have jumped to ¢43 millions in 2009 a 40% increase in a year. A reaction by GLG Expert Contributor Michel Gutsatz ( stresses the two conditions  “affordable luxury” should meet to reach its goal : a sufficient volume and a strong brand image. In New York Alain Nemarq was telling me that the new watch is already a hit in Paris with 3000 items sold in a couple of weeks. This is definitely volume for the Place Vendome! Yet “makiing it in the US is not a easy challenge for Mauboussin. ” It is much harder here, ‘ commented Alain Nemarq who spends quite a lot of time in New York. Recently the brand opened a corner in Bloomingdale’s Chestnut Hill store.

A friend of mine, a possible client of Mauboussin was commenting on the CEO strategy. ‘I like the idea of affordable luxury but I dont like that they adverstise the price!”. Not everybody wants to know your boyfriend is a cheap date? It makes sense. I would say that Americans are very conservative in the end, things have to be done a certain way. Often this is not a political statement but rather a fear of not doing the “right” thing. Americans need gurus, stylists and matchmakers. Mauboussin is leading them on a scary unknown path: affordable luxury on Madison. Will they fall for Elsa Zylberstein and her sexy looks showing her the way?


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