So together with his partner Bernhard Koehler, he came up with a radical idea that guaranteed the automotive landscape would never be the same again. In 2007, he formed Fisker Automotive in California and today is its CEO and executive design director.
As an American design-oriented company committed to designing and developing the world’s first line of premium electric plug-in hybrids, Fisker has proven that just because a car is environmentally-conscious doesn’t mean it has to forgo beauty, emotion and performance. As Fisker’s attitude and the belief in his project embody Maurice Lacroix’s motto, “Follow your convictions,” the brand saw a natural connection with Fisker and recently signed him on as a brand ambassador.
“Sports car partnerships are very interchangeable, and we did not want to be another brand doing a partnership with sports car brand “X.” His product and story are unique and innovative,” explains Marc Gläser, Maurice Lacroix managing director. “He combines the beauty of design and offers a solution to the shortage of fossil energy supply. Maurice Lacroix and Fisker Automotive share authenticity, contemporary design and manufacturing excellence. In the end, it’s about the emotions that both procure. Cars, just like watches, say a lot about the owner.”
Introduced to Maurice Lacroix two years ago, Fisker likes the brand’s restrained design and skillful craftsmanship. “I like the classical with a modern feeling. I really like the elegant proportions together with the precision engineering. It’s a bit like what we’re doing with our cars. So I felt that it fit really well together,” he notes.
One of those cars is the Karma, a 4-door luxury sedan.
“The Karma is a new type of vehicle that has a lot of road presence. When you see it on the road, you can’t mistake it for anything else. And that’s the same feeling I have about the Maurice Lacroix watch. It has a lot of presence on a man’s wrist.”
Though Fisker has a passion for watches, he has never been a big collector. He would always have a nice watch on, but would wear it for months before changing it. Nowadays, with a choice of Maurice Lacroix timepieces at hand, he wears a watch every day and alternates them between daytime use and formal events.
“I think watches are one of the only jewelry pieces that a man can wear. You’ve got to be able to see the time but I would never complain about a good-looking watch where it’s difficult to tell the time. I think it’s more about the visual impact the watch has and the refinement. What I like about Maurice Lacroix’s watches is you can see how much power you have left and the date. That’s what I use mostly. I don’t really use a lot of the other things like the tachometer.”
The 403-horsepower Karma is Fisker’s first production car and one Fisker calls the world’s first true electric vehicle with extended range. A high-performance four-passenger luxury sedan, it is one of the most efficient, low-emission vehicles available today. Through its innovative hybrid power train technology, the Karma combines the zero-emission efficiency of electric drive with the range and freedom of gasoline-powered cars.
“It’s an uncompromising, environmentally-friendly car. It’s beautiful, fast and you can go as far as you want at any time,” says Fisker.
The Karma drives its rear wheels using two rear-mounted 201.5-hp (150 kW) electric traction motors that draw energy from the lithium-ion battery pack (10-year/100,000-mile life expectancy) for up to 50 miles. The gasoline engine drives a 175-kW electric generator to power the motors.
Having studied how people actually drive, Fisker created two drive modes – Stealth and Sport – where one doesn’t have to worry about the range, unlike other electric cars. When you drive short distances in heavy traffic in the city, the car is on purely electric mode. For long distances, after fifty miles, it automatically activates a gasoline engine-driven generator that creates electricity while driving.
Reminiscent of a sports car from the past, the Karma has all the makings of a future icon with its sculptural good looks, exaggerated proportions, elongated hood and long, low, arching stance resembling a running cheetah. Its ecological stance can be seen inside, as its interior trim is made of repurposed wood from rescued, sunken or fallen logs. Other materials are animal-free, and on the roof is the world’s largest automotive solar panel.
“People want to feel good about driving a car. It’s about responsible luxury,” he adds.
Designed and engineered at the company’s headquarters in Anaheim, California, in record time (48 months from concept to showroom) the Karma offers the lowest emissions of nearly any production car.
Fisker Automotive’s headquarters also demonstrate concern for the sustainable use of resources and respect for the environment: recycled flooring, animal cruelty-free furniture, solar-powered signage, compact fluorescent light bulbs and recycling.
“This kind of partnership means that we are looking at inspiring our engineering and designs from how Henrik develops his products and what he gives importance to,” notes Gläser.
“Mechanical watches are in a sense environmentally-friendly because you don’t use batteries, and what we’re trying to go towards with electric cars with range extenders is a more sustainable future,” explains Fisker. “The precision in engineering and design is not necessarily just the fact that it’s electric, but that we have a lifestyle approach and we see ourselves as a green brand. We’re trying to make electric cars that are desirable. It’s more than just getting from A to B.”
He adds that he feels Maurice Lacroix’s watches are similarly more than just for telling the time.
“You can buy a watch for ten euros that tells the time but it’s not going to have as much passion and attention to detail as there would be on a Maurice Lacroix watch. If you have a passion for cars, design and engineering, then you buy a beautiful car, and I think that’s kind of where we come together.”
Both companies are young and relatively small and both express a contemporary esthetic and innovative spirit.
Just as Maurice Lacroix has been part of an elite group of watch manufactures since the end of 2006, crafting its own cases, movements and mechanical caliber components in its workshops in Saignelégier and Montfaucon in Switzerland, Fisker Automotive also displays a flair for authenticity in expression and always stays true to its principles in the pursuit of quality and excellence.
“As Fisker often mentions, the Karma is not the solution to energy shortage but a first step towards it,” adds Gläser. “The Karma delivers incredible performance and stunning design where all the engineering has been thought through to deliver the best with current societal needs. It’s the same with Maurice Lacroix: we develop all our products with the smartest engineering and give them an engaging design.”
Fisker agrees. “We have, I think, the best proportions of any car in the world right now, when you look at a four-door car. When I think about Maurice Lacroix watches, they have perfect proportions.”
Fisker has sold 1,200 Karmas since December, and the firm aims to manufacture several thousand per year. Prices start at $102,000 excluding taxes, title, license and registration, and before $7,500 in federal tax credits plus state and local incentives. That’s a competitive price when compared to the higher cost Porsche Panamera S Hybrid or Maserati Quattroporte.
Up next for Fisker is the Surf, which will feature additional, flexible load-carrying capability for active lifestyles. As for Fisker and Maurice Lacroix, both are currently in discussions for a collaboration beyond an ambassador role, so perhaps we just might see a Fisker-designed Maurice Lacroix timepiece one day.