Having designed the LIP watch in 1975, Roger Tallon was one of the pioneering industrial designers who stepped into the watchmaking industry. There are others that came afterwards, including Marc Newson, Jasper Morrison, Issey Miyake and Yves Behar, but Roger Tallon was the first.
At that time, the quartz movement was becoming popular and had shaken up the traditional watchmaking industry. LIP launched its first electronic watch in 1952, but in the 1970s they were challenged by affordable Japanese watches with quartz movements. There were strikes and a factory occupation by the workers in 1973, even the French government and army were involved to calm things down. Claude Neuschwander, former art director of the Publicis advertising group, agreed to become the factory’s manager and LIP became a subsidiary of BSN (now Danone). It was Neuschwander who hired Roger Tallon for the new project.
Roger Tallon designed the innovative Téléavia P111 television back in the 1960s, a model that heavily inspired Apple’s iMac G3 and G4 decades later. In the 1980s, he designed the TGV and Eurostar, making him the leading figure in industrial design. As a watch to rebuild the name of LIP, the Mach 2000 broke away from traditional expectations of how a watch should look. The shape of the case was asymmetrical, with a circular left side and a squarish right side. The dimples on the right were filled by three colourful buttons. Its style was similar to the furniture designed during the Italian Memphis movement started in the 1980s, but the watch was launched a few years ahead of that.
The LIP watches from then and now are very different, with the biggest change in using quartz movements in most watches – though this doesn’t really matter for the Mach 2000 as it was originally fitted with a quartz movement anyway. Another highlight is the words “Besançon – France” at 6 o’clock. Even though the quartz movement is a Swiss-made Ronda 5021-D, this watch stands out as one of the few to still be made in France.