Pieric “Rick” Joel Vaucher De La Croix is a British businessman and distributor of luxury timepieces perhaps best known for his unique and wildly successful approach to branding. As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ares Distributors Inc. he has helped to introduce and build the presence of prestigious watch and jewelry brands in the USA, Latin America and the Caribbean through a carefully executed collection of supporters, ambassadors and cheerleaders, if you will. Today he hails over the Hublot empire continuing to make strides toward global recognition and ever expanding the brand’s repertoire along the way. Special collaborations and one-off projects sit at the helm of De La Croix’s business and the roster reads like a who’s who of VIP’s, athletes and celebrities.
Born in Pembury, Kent to an English mother and a Swiss father, De La Croix always dreamt of playing professional football. And as accomplishment is in his nature, he went in pursuit of that dream and finally found himself playing for the youth and reserve team in Switzerland, Youth Neuchatel Xamax, which as faith would have it, was sponsored by TAG Heuer at the time. De La Croix didn’t know it yet, but this moment would mold his relationship with timepieces for the rest of his life. While playing for the team, and given its relationship to Tag Heuer as a sponsor, De La Croix met brand president, Willy Monnier. Monnier would in turn become De La Croix’s mentor and life, as he knew it, would be no more. It was Monnier who first showed De La Croix entrée in to the world of watches, aiding in launching his career, which in fact began in product development. In the mornings he would work and in the afternoons he would play soccer.
In 1989 Monnier left TAG Heur to start Zodiac with Paul Castella, which was the owner of Dixi Holdings and Zenith and that change meant a change for De La Croix. The transition came at a time when Zenith did not have distribution rights in the United States or Asia; so Monnier was tasked with building Zenith in the Americas as well as developing the Zodiac brand—De La Croix was his first employee.
Little did he know it, but De La Croix was only at the beginning of what would become a very long and involved education in the world of watches. In any case, he jumped in headfirst, in turn kicking off his career. On the journey he learnt all there was to know about the watch industry; from production and cost to how to merchandise and distribute—it was Watch University.
In 1990 De La Croix left for the new challenge of working in the world of high luxury, specifically for the family-owned brand, Corum, which at the time was managed by Rene Banwart and his son JR. Here, he specialized in Hispanic markets, which in the spirit of hindsight, it should be noted, would also play a major role in his success. He quickly aspired to director of sales for Spain and Latin America where he continued to work with Corum after the company was sold to Severin Wunderman. Eventually he transitioned to managing the region of Miami, Florida.
Armed with a decade of experience, De La Croix was ready to spread his proverbial wings. The burgeoning businessman decided to go on his own. In 1997, De La Croix became independent of a sole brand and started a distribution company for the region. With Wunderman’s support he quickly began adding other prestigious brands, notably Versace and Gucci and the business grew rapidly. In just five short years the leaps and bounds made were those of one destined to reign over a watch kingdom. At that time, De La Croix was dubbed a founding distribution partner of the Hublot watch brand working alongside the brands owner Jean Claude Biver and CEO Ricardo Guadalupe who is a childhood friend and with whom he remains a close working partner to this day. Together, the lot work together on breathing life in to De La Croix’s out-of-the-box marketing initiatives, communally cornering the market from a relationship standpoint. Hublot has in fact become synonymous with the successful marketing opportunities so far pioneered for the brand.
De La Croix has worked on behalf of Hublot in the negotiation and establishment of a number of projects, particularly in the sporting arena that have been used as elevation tools received with much support from the community. Most notably, his work with teams like NBA franchise the Miami Heat and ex-player, Dwayne Wade as well as with famed soccer star, Diego Maradona, English professional football club, Manchester United, the World Boxing Council and the Mexican Football Federation, to name a few.
Some particular partnerships have been groundbreaking to the point of never having been done before. It’s been on these occasions that De La Croix’s been extra lauded for his fearless approach to getting the job done. Hublot’s presence in the famed fight against Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, where Mayweather donned the brand on his boxing shorts marked the first time the undefeated champ ever fought while wearing a logo. That day, Mayweather wasn’t the only one who won.
The partnerships also cross platforms in to music to celebrate relationships with superstar talents and close friends of the brand such as that with rock band Depeche Mode, with whom Hublot has had an 8-year relationship including involvement in two world tours.
De La Croix has also been a great supporter of charitable causes.
Working in support of such programs as the Teenage Cancer Trust and the WBC charity funds as well as working hand-in-hand with dear friends to support their philanthropic efforts such as: Anthony Shriver Kennedy’s, Best Buddies International, The Irie Foundation with DJ Irie, ex-undisputed heavy weight world champion of the world, Lennox Lewis’ League of Champions Foundation and Miami Heat All Star center, Alonzo Mourning’s Mourning Family Foundation. This leading global partner of the LVMH group shows no signs of slowing down.
During Art Basel, and the lifespan of this issue, De La Croix will similarly show his activation wingspan, creating event content in association with the arts all around Miami to further explore the vast potential of the Hublot name. It’s a week of particular interest to De La Croix who celebrates art as one of his most notable personal interests. Probably best known for his affinity for street art, the avid collector of original works by such coveted names as Banksy, Invader and Retna has put together a roster of collaborative celebrations that promises to celebrate art, the artists and surely the art of time.