Guido Terreni, the CEO of luxury watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier, has an unwavering belief that purism and innovation are what sets his watches apart from other brands. Ong Chin Huat wanted to know more about his background, the company and his thoughts on how the luxury watch market will evolve in the forthcoming years.
Purity and innovation lie at the heart of luxury independent watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier. Rare and prestigious, this elegant watch brand was founded by Michel Parmigiani in 1996 with the financial backing of the Sandoz Family Foundation. A well-known antique timepiece restorer, Michel had restored important timepieces from the Patek Philippe Museum and the Chateau des Monts.
Today, the captain of this ship is helmed by Guido Terreni, who has been its CEO since 2021. We caught up with him during his recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to introduce the Watches & Wonders 2023 Collection.
Guido explained that the typical Parmigiani Fleurier customers are very special as they are knowledgeable in watchmaking and appreciate and express private luxury.
“For me, luxury is not about ostentations or showing off how much money you have in the bank but about excellence and understanding the product and the culture behind it,” he told us.
According to Guido, subtlety and discretion are what Parmigiani Fleurier is all about. To reflect that, the brand has changed the logo to a classier emblem designed by the founder.
“We are a brand which does not cater to a mainstream crowd,” he said, adding that “discernment and expression of a particular style sets a typical Parmigiani customer apart from the rest.”
Having headed Bulgari’s watch division for ten years, it would be an understatement to say that Guido knows the luxury watch market inside out. “I moved to this beautiful brand for two main reasons. Firstly, I was looking for a brand with a mono category, meaning just watches and which had a deep culture in watchmaking.
Secondly, I was looking at the evolution of the luxury watch industry where I noticed a great momentum of smaller, independent brands, and Parmigiani Fleurier fitted that category perfectly.”
But how does Parmigiani stand out in a market crowded with luxury timepieces? According to Guido, it boils down to just two crucial elements – the design and craft. “Our watchmaking content is extremely high in terms of our mechanics and finishings, and our minimalist style with the purity of our design and subtle details make us stand out.”
As for whether Parmigiani Fleurier caters for men or women, there is an obvious clear answer. “Our masculine clientele makes up a large part of our turnover.”
But he hastens to add that this wasn’t always the case. “In the past, our female clientele amounted to 45 to 50 per cent of our turnover, but it has since dropped.”
Parmigiani Fleurier’s best-selling model today is the GMT Rattrapante, which also happens to have the longest waiting list.
As for the geographical breakdown of their biggest markets, Guido says Parmiagiani is very well-balanced as they are not overly dependent on any one market. “Our largest market is Japan, which accounts for about 25 per cent of our turnover, followed by the US accounting for 20 per cent, China 20 per cent, Europe 20 per cent and the Middle East and Asia Pacific around 15 per cent.
“Our brand is devoted to the future,” Guido states emphatically.
“I believe luxury is about evolving excellence and not always about replicating the past. Every great watch when it was first produced was a step forward. Our generation did not design nine out of 10 watches, so I think it’s our role to continue to innovate and build up creativity, not only from a stylistic point of view but also from a technical aspect.
We aspire to be a brand which continues to push the boundary from aesthetical and technical point of view.”
With such a broad experience behind him, where does Guido see the luxury watch market headed in the next five years?
“Established brands will continue to grow and get bigger on the trail of their heritage and what they have built up over the last 100 years, while smaller independent brands will innovate and showcase their creativity, catering to a different tier of luxury clientele who are looking to differentiate themselves from mainstream taste.”
For more information on Parmigiani Fleurier, please visit www.parmigiani.com.
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