James Henderson - What was your first watch? Was it a gift? Is there a story behind it?
David Cypers - My first watch was a citizen chrono watch, it was a
gift for my 7th birthday.
JH - When you were a boy - what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
DC - I could imagine myself as a military officer,
but my parents would not allow me.
JH - What were you doing before you joined Anonimo?
DC - Since the end of my studies (1997) I had been active in the diamond industry in Antwerp (Belgium). I worked as an independent sales agent for a DeBeers Sightholder company, distributing diamonds and diamond jewelry across Europe.
JH - Where did you go to school - what did you study exactly?
DC - I studied Business Engineering (it is a five year university degree), which culminated in a Masters in Marketing, at Limburg University Centre in Belgium.
During my studies I participated in a European inter-university exchange program (Erasmus), and hence I did part of my studies at University College Galway, in Ireland.
JH - Being from Belgium - had you ever imagined that you would be running an Italian watch company?
DC - When I was 18 I really knew I wanted to run an international business working with Italian design product. However, I did not know in what field it would be.
JH - What first brought you to Anonimo?
DC - In 2007 I was looking for a watch for myself.
I liked Panerai watches a lot at that time (Italian design). I saw the Anonimo booth, and really liked what I saw, especially the Militare Crono, and Istarted to talk to the people at the booth.
Instead of ordering 1 watch for myself I decided to buy an entire collection, to become the distributor
of the brand in Benelux. I was already distributing diamond jewelry, a parallel industry, in that market space. However, as a man, I have more affinity with watches than jewelry.
So over the years my involvement with the company grew.
JH - Who else out there is making watches that interest you?
DC - Mainly Audemar Piguet. I also appreciate Gerald Genta: almost all of the designs he made.
JH - What is it that makes Anonimo special?
DC - First and foremost, the indisputable Italian passion for design.
The equilibrium in aesthetics is deeply embedded in the Italian culture.
Even if Italians make a machine, something entirely functional, they make it look nice!
Secondly, the history of watch making (especially diving watches) Anonimo is built upon, for example:
1936: The first Panerai watch: today Dino Zei, the ceo of Panerai from 1972-1997, is part of
1939: Enrico Ambucchi starts a small case factory in Florence: today his workshop since
1959 is our workshop, and his son, Antonio Ambucchi, is our technical director.
And the third element is the Florentine artisanal way of making objects.
Truly brilliant craftsmanship.
JH - Had you always wanted to have/run your own watch company?
DC - I always wanted to run my own company.
When I was 18, I was elected president of the High School student Association. When I was 21 I was elected president of University student Association. By the age of 17, I really knew I was going to run my own company.
My Passion for watches came later, stemming from working in the luxury industry, I appreciate a nice product to work with (a small design object carefully and passionately handcrafted), the product closest to me is a watch.
JH - You worked fairly closely with Federico Massacesi and Dino Zei? What are they like to work with?
DC - Federico Massacesi is inventive and intelligent, with a passion for design and engineering.
Dino Zei is very, very rigorous, a real colonel-engineer! But at the same time surprisingly warmhearted, maybe his aging has increased this quality.
JH - What are some of the biggest challenges you are facing right now?
Growth in Asian markets.
Quality of product still has to improve.
Challenging marketing expenditures needed.
JH - What is the strongest market for Anonimo right now?
DC - It is Asia.
JH - I know that it might be hard to choose, but what is your favorite Anonimo of all time?
DC - In all honesty, it would be my "first love": The Militare Crono.
JH - What do you see as the next big market for Anonimo and Firenze Orologi?
DC - China. All Swiss firms are doing 30-40% of their turnover there.
We are still not present in that market.
JH - What do you like to do in your down time?
DC - I like to read novels, watch movies and see plays at the theatre. Spend time with relatives.
JH - And as you are from Belgium, it must be asked - favorite Belgian cyclist - Merckx or Freddy Maertens?
DC - To be honest I like more today's sports people from our country,
for example Tom Boonen in cycling, or Kim Clijsters in Tennis.
JH - If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?
DC - My father was an artist, painter and musician.
I hope to be able to follow his footsteps one day, into the fine arts.
JH - What advice do you have for future watch entrepreneurs?
DC - Before anything else, try to get a very thorough understanding of what luxury is about.