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Interviews

Jason Pitsch

Interview with Ralph Simons, CEO of Chopard USA

Jason Pitsch

1- Jason Pitsch: Since your move from the President of Frederique Constant/Alpina USA to CEO of Chopard USA Ltd. in 2015 what have you done to improve the business at your new company? Ralph Simons: Well, we’ve done a lot. It has been a very interesting period since then. The main point of focus has been to simplify the assortment of products along with its communication to the market. When I arrived at Chopard we utilized a large selection of different advertising visuals, and one level up from that, in terms of product, at the time we also offered a broad range of references. This made it harder for our final clients and our authorized retailers to capture a consistent and recognizable brand message. The Chopard Core Collection for North America launched at Baselworld 2015 now serves as a foundation.

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Jason Pitsch

Meet Breva CEO Vincent Dupontreué

Jason Pitsch

On a recent Friday in New York City, I sat down for lunch with Breva founder and designer, Vincent Dupontreué. We ate at the Wayfarer restaurant, located in the Quin Hotel at Central Park South, and discussed his background, as well as the new Breva Genie G02 Air. Afterwards, we did a shoot on the streets of NYC. Vincent then had to catch a plane from JFK back to Geneva to rest for a day, before flying out to another city the following week. The best watch brand CEOs are always on the move, constantly promoting and selling their products around the world. Vincent Dupontreué’s background and what inspired him to found a luxury watch brand Vincent was born in 1977, just outside of Paris in Corsica. At the young age of 11 Dupontreué was making and selling bracelets

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Jason Pitsch

Interview with Larry Pettinelli of Patek Philippe USA

Jason Pitsch

I recently interviewed the President of Patek Philippe USA, Larry Pettinelli, who has been with Patek Philippe for 25 years, and was in finance prior to his career with Patek. He started as the West Coast Sales Representative, and later became Vice President, and eventually President. Jason Pitsch: At a recent meeting with US watch trade editors at Patek Philippe HQ you stated that all new Patek Philippe timepieces will feature silicon hairsprings (Spiromax). Are their any plans to integrate the GyromaxSi (balance) or Pulsomax (escapement) technology into more of the collection? Larry Pettinelli: Yes, this is something that Geneva is refining. I am sure when they feel comfortable and ready, this technology will become more widely available throughout the collection. JP: Sales across the watch industry are at record highs, including in the US market, yet you recently stated

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Jason Pitsch

Interview with Ralph Simons, US President of Frederique Constant & Alpina

Jason Pitsch

Jason Pitsch: What is your background in the watch industry? Ralph Simons: I basically grew up in the watch industry. I am originally from Amsterdam and my father had his own business of designing and producing gold and diamond jewelry. In 1984, he made a move into watches, watch distribution specifically, and I was 9 at the time. I remember he came home with the news that he had acquired the distribution for IWC in The Netherlands. Looking back that is really the moment that my interest for watches, which eventually grew into a passion, was sparked.

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Jason Pitsch

Interview with Omega CEO Stephen Urquhart

Jason Pitsch

Omega has had a pretty busy year with the launch of the revolutionary Aqua-Terra Anti-Magneti watch, the Speedmaster Bullhead and 1957 throwbacks, and of course, the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon. And now, the Seamaster Diver ETNZ Limited Edition. I have to say, I am quite impressed. JP: Is 2014 going to be a slow year for product launches compared to 2013? SU: No way. We have a lot in the pipeline. We say that every year. How can 2013 match 2012? Last year we had the Olympics, James Bond and the Ryder Cup. We have the Olympics next year again, in Sochi. We have some new models, some new ideas coming out next year. We also have some in advance of the Olympics.

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Jason Pitsch

Interview: Victorinox Timepiece Division CEO Alexander Bennouna

Jason Pitsch

JP: What is your background, how long have you been with Victorinox? AB: Since 2004, so almost 10 years, and 20 years in the watch industry. Prior to that I had brief experience in the jewelry business.

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Jason Pitsch

Interview with Michel Parmigiani of Parmigiani Fleurier

Jason Pitsch

Jason Pitsch: When did you start in watchmaking? Michel Parmigiani: I started in 1975. At a time of crisis for watchmaking, a very dark time. Everyone was trying to discourage me from taking that path at the time. Watchmaking was completely devastated in Switzerland. There had been a tremendous crisis. My beginnings were very difficult but I really believed in what I was doing and went against the tide. And it wasn’t a bed of roses. I started my activity at the time in the region where I was born…and the economy was completely devastated at the time. The only watchmaker that had remained active at the time was Piaget, at the time, all the others had had to close down. And they managed to weather the storm and not disappear. And even that was an inspiration to me because

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Jason Pitsch

Interview with Michele Sofisti CEO of Sowind Group

Jason Pitsch

JP: What does being under the financial umbrella of the Gucci group mean to Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard going forward? MS: A very, very important move. Most important because it gives a total security of the future, total security for our partners on the industrial side, they know it will be long lasting. Also for our partners in distribution and our retailers. A company that has a bright future in front of it, this is the most important. The second important thing, we entered into a group that is run with a lot of respect from brand history, quality and heritage. This is really very important for a brand like Girard-Perregaux with 210 years of history.

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Jason Pitsch

Interview: Laurent Picciotto of Chronopassion

Jason Pitsch

JP: How did you get started in the watch industry? LP: I started in the watch industry because my father gave me an interest in watches because he was a watch addict. When I was 27 I opened my shop as the shop of our dreams, only watches and only the brands I like. It was a mixture of institutional, historic brands and niche brands right at the beginning with an opulent choice.

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Interview: Xetum Founder Jeff Kuo

1- Please tell us a little about your new brand Xetum. We launched Xetum's collection in late 2009, with the objective of offering distinctive Swiss automatic timepieces in an accessible modern aesthetic. Each piece in our collection is designed to draw your attention in an understated and nuanced way.

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