MOTO HEROES MAGAZINE
Interview with Alain Marhic
" Born in 69 "
Text by Jean-Louis Basset
Photographed by Vince Perraud
Alain Marhic launched his own watch brand ten years ago already.
March LA.B was born between Los Angeles and Biarritz, under the sign of the 70's, the green colour and motorcycles with character ! Explanation.
Even though he was introduced early to two-wheels riding at a very young age on his brother's Yamaha TY 50 (a must-have when we were in high school), Alain Marhic considers himself to be a true ignorant when it comes to motorcycles. Without a moto for years, this Breton native put his ass back on a two-wheels after landing in Biarritz where he worked at Quiksilver. "For my 30th birthday, my wife gave me an all-original 125 PX Vespa," says Alain. "It was my life dream!" He may feel as happy as a pope on his scooter, but he still has motorcycle dreams. He will opt for a small VanVan before taking his licence and looking at a "modern" Triumph Scrambler.
Meeting Dimitri Coste will save him from boredom. "I've asked Dimitri to shoot the first March LA.B. photo campaign and he arrived on the shoot with an old Triumph." Maybe it was a T120 and Alain was directly interested. His wishes slide suddenly to the vintage ones. "I thought it was more beautiful than a modern one," he confides. The lines, the patinated metal, the smell of petrol and the magic of the object seduce the young entrepreneur and the chance will do the rest.
A guy living next door proposes to Alain to buy his bike. "What kind of motorbike is it?" asks him ... In exchange of 2000 €, he owns a magnificent Honda 350 CL from 1969, the year he was born. "It was very beautiful but I have a problem with the green," Alain explains with a smile. The new motorcyclist had the Scrambler repainted in its favourite colour.
Alain enjoys the pleasures distilled by the Honda with delight until the day Dimitri tells him that he should call a friend who wants to sell his bike. The two-wheels is a Triumph TR6 Trophy with a metallic green and slightly aniseed green finish.... He accepts and offers himself this vertical twin 650 cc mono-carburetor that he falls in love with. "It's a little jewel I love to ride it," says Alain Marhic. He still finds some defects in it, like its right selector or its release date : 1970 but it was certainly manufactured at the end of 1969 ...
Between his business, his family and his hobbies, the entrepreneur lived happily without counting on the web temptation. "From time to time, I looked at the ads without any specific goal. I had my dream motorcycle and I didn't need anything," he tries to make us believe. He clicks and clicks again before coming across the page of "Legend Motorcycle" a bucklehead who imports English motorcycles from the USA. "Nothing tempted me and I end up pointing my mouse at a link to their American partner." There, Alain comes across a green 1969 Triumph! A firecracker green T100 Scrambler, absolutely magnificent... He tries to reason with himself, thinking that three bikes are useless. But he still shows it to a friend during a party.
Few days after and his buddy calls him back, all excited, telling him that "his" motorcycle is selling for $17,500 on an American TV show! That's okay... It's too expensive. But Alain calls again the shop in Nantes and learns that it's obviously not the same bike. It is still available for a bill of just 10,000 €. Green ... 1969 ... He resists but, during the 2018 Football World Cup, he tells his wife that if France wins the final, he'll buy the Triumph! She raises her eyes to the sky and he exults the day Killian Mbappé slams the 4th goal against Croatia. As promised (don't tell madam) and the little 500 cm3 goes to the family garage. "I have four children and leaving them money or a house is good. But leaving them one of my motorbikes as a legacy is better because it's really a part of me," says the man, always smiling.
While waiting to find his 4th bike (a Guzzi? a BSA?), Alain enjoys the three he already own as soon as he returns to Biarritz. "On weekends, I'll take one and see if there are waves. I can feel less stress," confides the "Bask-adopted". "My pleasure is riding a bike that's the same age as me and still works."
The link with the world of watches is obvious: March LA.B's collection correspond to the 70s aesthetics, when watches, furnitures and cars adopted more geometrical shapes. Designed by Jérôme Mage, who lives in Los Angeles (and owns two Ford Mustangs !!), these watches seduce many customers looking for this seventies spirit. "With Jérôme, who is also my associate, we wanted to revisit these shapes, not by tropism but by conviction."
March LA.B. is on the way to succeeding the challenge : "We are very small but we have passed the difficult milestones thanks to my best friend who supported us at the right time," confesses Alain Marhic. "Today, we have a real success of esteem in France and I am proud to see our watches in a 30 cm window alongside prestigious brands." According to Alain, the brand's basic premise has not changed: "To create watches that my mates can buy for themselves. Nothing makes me happier than running into someone wearing one of our watches in the street or in a train."
Although March LA.B watches are not 100% Made in France, they are assembled in Besançon and Rennes and receive made in France bands from a manufacture where the greatest luxury brands produce their leather-goods. "We want to create a maximum of things in France and stay in our price range." Thus, the steel cases and packaging are made abroad by companies owned by French people, as if to prolong the virtuous circle of a "French Touch" underlined with a touch of green, a brilliant Pantone 356 C.