The folks at Blumont Group Limited, who oversee the brands Audaz (positioned in the Low Middle End price segment), have recently relaunched the Le Jour brand, and I must say that the whole set up has been carefully thought through.
History of the Le Jour Brand
I tried to trace the history of the Le Jour brand, but apart from speculation on bulletin boards about ties to a French OEM, the only concrete crumbles are two trademark application filed by the Continental Time Corporation of New York on the 28th of July 1965. One application with the USPTO and one with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property that was renewed in 1986. Word on the street is that French watchmaker Yema used the brand to import mechanical chronographs in the USA, and evidence shows that Le Jour watches crossed decades by adapting to design trends and by using available movements from Le Landeron, Lemania, Valjoux and Venus. There are indications that by 2011 the brand was managed by the LeJour Watches Incorporated, from New York, but it is not clear when and under which circumstances the management came to an end.
Even though many watchmakers have gone out of business since the Great Depression, the majority of those trademarks are still maintained by individuals or companies that believe in the potential of a historical name. Since available old names are scarce, the easiest solution is often to come up with a completely new name, and in our report on Branding we list the five categories that are typically used for watches.
However, extensive research can sometimes be rewarding by allowing to locate an old trademark that is no longer protected in key markets. So the folks at Blumont hit the jackpot with Le Jour and diligently filed for trademark registration in 2015 to gain control of the name and capitalise on its reputation.
Positioning of the revived Le Jour brand has been carefully thought, with their first collection paying tribute to an original design from the 1980’s. The cushion case illustrated above is typical of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, as it has extensively been used by manufacturers such as Arctos (another brand that has been revived), Heuer, Orfina or Tutima. It gained a lot of visibility at the time as it was made available with black coatings such as PTFE (Teflon) or black chrome, which would quickly wear off at the edges. The current model uses black PVD, which is much more stable.
Available in 7 different SKU’s, the new Le Jour Mark I improves the 1980’s design by adding bevels to the case sides to minimise the perception of thickness. The dial uses similar font types and adds detail thanks to a bevelled chapter around each register. The designer has played with black, grey and white dial sections, and Having produced myself a lot of re-editions while working as Senior Designer for Longines, I can comment on how the new Le Jour faithfully keeps the spirit of the original timepiece even thought there have been a few necessary design compromises. My only caveat is with the Tachymeter scale, which could have benefitted from bigger characters in the 2016 version:
Price is positioned at a sweet point, with USD 2,000 for the full steel version, USD 2,150 for the black PVD version and USD 3,100 for a special steel version with meteorite dial. These watches are targeted at the lower part of the High Middle segment, alongside brands such as Alpina, Hamilton or Sinn.
|Movement||Manufacturing||Segment definition||Retail price|
|Master Watchmaking||Above USD 25,000|
|High End||USD 5,000 to USD 25,000|
|High Middle||USD 1,000 to USD 5,000|
|Quartz||Middle End||USD 500 to USD 1,000|
|Others||Low Middle End||USD 250 to USD 500|
|Asia||Low End||Lower than USD 250|
Looking further into the Blumont Group Limited, it turns out that it is incorporate in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and the location is know for allowing to set up and run low-cost offshore business structures with extremely low accounting and tax filing costs. Currently the brand has an official US distributor, Bernhardt Watches, and the timepieces can also be purchased on their own e-commerce store running on Shopify.