The story of LOCMAN is closely tied to that of its founder and president Marco Mantovani, who was born in Marina di Campo on the island of Elba in 1961. Together with Fulvio Locci, in 1986 he founded LOCMAN, which started out as a design services company for some of the major Swiss watchmakers before becoming a watch production company for third parties. In the late ’80s GENESI, a well-established Milanese watch factory that had been operating since the 1950s, became LOCMAN’s production partner of choice, enabling the company to offer high-quality watches produced in Italy at prices well below those in Switzerland. Thanks to GENESI and its technical expertise, LOCMAN took the plunge and started designing and producing watches under its own label. The first LOCMAN watch was entirely hand-crafted, with parts in gold and briar root, a precious wood typical of Elba and the Mediterranean scrub. At that time, Claudio Fanucchi joins Locman as shareholder.
In 1990 Carlo Crocco – owner of the prestigious Genevan brand HUBLOT, now part of the LVMH group – bought a stake in LOCMAN and offered to distribute its products throughout the world. This was an ideal growth opportunity for the Tuscan brand, alongside its design and contract manufacturing activities.
In 1996, on one of his regular visits to America, Marco Mantovani was waiting at a customs office on a small Caribbean island when he spotted an old photograph of the lighthouse at Punta Polveraia on Elba. It was a moment that affected him profoundly. Marco was thousands of miles from the places and people he loved, and those few minutes proved decisive. In those days he divided his time between Milan, Switzerland and his regular trips around the world. But his real home was on Elba, where LOCMAN had retained a branch and a shop. On returning to Italy Mantovani decided to take back control of the company, which returned to being 100% Italian, and move the main production site to Marina di Campo, a stone’s throw from the sea. Two new people, long-standing friends, joined the company: Giuseppe Pea from Brescia and Ben Feigenbaum from Miami. It was around that time that Marco Mantovani met Gloria, soon to become his wife as well as his close associate. Watch sales were experiencing strong growth, particularly in the United States.
The design, colours and use of innovative materials such as aluminium, sometimes combined with diamonds, were key to the company’s global success. Demand outstripped production capacity and LOCMAN watches became highly sought-after by international stars: Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Nicole Kidman and Elton John are just a few of the personalities who have been photographed wearing watches made on Elba.
In December 2000 HOPA SPA, a major Italian finance firm and a key shareholder of TELECOM ITALIA among other large companies, joined LOCMAN’s share capital. For LOCMAN, this arrival represented a significant change of pace, both in terms of governance and of international investment.
It was in this context that prestigious collaborations began with the Italian Armed Forces, leading to the launch of collections featuring the emblems of the AIR FORCE, the FOLGORE PARATROOPERS and the NAVY.
In 2002 LOCMAN became official supplier to the Premiership and its products were later chosen by President Berlusconi to be used as diplomatic gifts to various Heads of State and International Delegations.
Investment in new technologies was further increased and at Baselworld 2003, LOCMAN presented the first watch in the world to feature a carbon fibre case.
In 2005 Marco Mantovani was diagnosed with a serious illness and it was feared that he had only a few months to live. Marco entrusted management of the company to its directors and began a tough cycle of treatment. In 2008 he was declared fully recovered and was able to take back the reins of the company.
This marked the beginnings of a new lease of life for the company, with a significant increase in control over the production chain as well as investment in research and development. In 2009 LOCMAN acquired 100% of the three existing companies: GENESI (production unit), SCUOLA ITALIANA DI OROLOGERIA (in-house training academy) and MATERIE FUTURE (study and application of composite materials in watchmaking). SCUOLA ITALIANA and MATERIE FUTURE are part of the S.I.O. brand, the technical division of the company, which in addition to purely educational activity is dedicated to the study of movements and watch construction techniques.
The fruit of these developments is the Stealth Titanium and Carbon collection which has been a great hit with the public. 2010 was the year in which the new Montecristo model was launched, a further milestone for LOCMAN in terms of recognition and production quality. With its sporty, naval spirit, the Montecristo collection has become a true icon of Italian watchmaking.
2010 was also the year that LOCMAN made its début in the eyewear sector. Thanks to the use of high-quality, high-tech materials and innovative design, LOCMAN’s Eyewear line has established itself in the prescription eyewear sector.
LOCMAN continues to produce timepieces for third parties, however, both for watch brands and for brands outside the sector. For example, it has a well-established collaboration with the POMELLATO group, a market leader in the jewellery sector that commissions LOCMAN to produce its new watch lines. POMELLATO managing director Andrea Morante joined LOCMAN’s corporate structure following the sale of the French KERING group in 2013.
In 2014 LOCMAN participated in the creation of the FONDAZIONE ISOLA D’ELBA, a non-profit association for the environmental protection and social enhancement of the island, of which Marco Mantovani was made president.
Over the next few years LOCMAN’s presence in the far east became more established, particularly in Japan, via the LOCMAN Japan subsidiary.
At the end of 2016 the worldwide famous Italian Rockstar Vasco Rossi becomes brand ambassador of Locman Eyewear. The following summer on the stage of Modena Park, to date the concert with the highest paying audience in the world, Vasco wore Locman V111 sunglasses.
2017 saw the foundation of a partnership with DUCATI: the two prestigious Italian firms signed a contract to produce watches for the famous motorcycle brand.
In 2019 LOCMAN entrusted the production and development of the eyewear sector to the American FGX INTERNATIONAL company, part of the ESSILOR group and a market leader. That same year it forged a partnership with MAREVIVO, to which it donates a portion of its profits in aid of the conservation and protection of the sea.
Italianness and passion at its heart
Technology, innovation, Italian design and passion are the values on which LOCMAN’s identity is based. The concept of luxury carried by the brand’s watches is not linked to an exclusive price range, but to a value of independence, freedom and uniqueness. LOCMAN watches are created on the island of Elba, just metres from the sea, from which they draw inspiration and energy. They are aimed at a demanding, attentive clientele in search of something unique and refined. Entirely convinced of the connection between refinement and Italianness, the Tuscan brand took the decision to highlight its origins, creating a 100% Italian brand that stands out in an international scene dominated by large Swiss watchmaking groups. With this in mind, certain strategic allegiances have been formed, such as the partnership with Ducati to create watch collections dedicated to fans of motorcycling and Italian design. LOCMAN works closely with the Italian Ministry of Defence and the Premiership, producing watches for the Armed Forces, Special Forces, and particularly the Italian Navy.
From Elba to the World
LOCMAN’s distribution is carried out via a network of around 1,200 authorised retailers all over the world, together with seven single-brand boutiques. The distribution policy values direct relationships with the clientele, which for LOCMAN is represented not only by a large group of LOCMAN watch enthusiasts and collectors, but also by the most prestigious international watch and jewellery retailers. These are points of sale that – now more than ever – value the idea of working with a company that meticulously crafts its products and customer service.
LOCMAN believes that Humans and Nature can live together in perfect harmony. Humans are an essential part of the ecosystem and must take on the role of caretakers. Over time, this process will be concluded thanks to increasingly modern, democratic and sustainable technology. First, we must strive to ensure medical, cultural and professional dignity for all the peoples of the world. Once we have successfully eradicated hunger and poverty, it will be easier to promote awareness of Nature. Renewable energy sources, scientific progress, a new work ethic and above all a growing environmental awareness will be major contributors to this change. LOCMAN is a carbon neutral company that supports organisations and projects that protect the environment. For our headquarters, we chose the island of Elba, a fine example of the perfect balance between unspoilt nature and human activity.