Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer re-runs: A Few Minutes with Massimo Macaluso

This was one of my favorites from that first year, so I thought I'd "re-heat" it ; )
This originally appeard on January11th, 2011.

And now, a few minutes with Massimo Macaluso -

Courtesy of Girard-Perregaux/JeanRichard
James - What was your first watch, was it a gift? Is there a story behind it?
Massimo Macaluso - Growing-up in the watch industry, it had to be a gift. My first watch was actually a Girard-Perregaux 7000. It was the first chronograph designed by my father for Girard-Perregaux.

JH - I think it is safe to say that watches are in the Macaluso DNA, what are some memories you have of growing up with such a notable figure as a father?

MM - This would be a long story to tell… as far as I remember I have always been surrounded by watches. For instance, when I was a kid I was doing my homework in the evening at my father’s office, in contact with watches. Specifically, I remember him showing me drawing or drafts of new models… it was really the part of his job that was driving him.

JH - When you were a boy, what did you want to be "when you grew up"?

MM - I was dreaming of becoming a soccer player. I still have a passion for soccer.

JH - Where did you go to school, what did you study?

MM - I studied economics in Torino.

JH - Growing up in the watch industry many people would think that you had always planned of joining the family business - but maybe you thought/dreamed of doing something else?

MM - As I said earlier, I literally grew up with watches. Then, I have also been influenced by other family passions… soccer or motor sports. And boys dream probably more easily of becoming a soccer player or a race car driver than running a business.

Courtesy of Girard-Perregaux/JeanRichard
 JH - I remember a few years ago there was a JEANRICHARD Juventus watch. I assume that you are still a Juve supporter?

MM - I am still a supporter de la ‘vecchia signora’.  A passionate and loyal one, I must say.  I support the team in good and bad times.

JH - For me it was Michel Platini - who was your favorite to wear the black and white?

MM - Alessandro Del Piero is ‘my’ period. A great striker and at the same time a really creative player. He has been playing with the Juventus for nearly 20 years now…

JH - Let's talk about JEANRICHARD - how do you see things developing this year and next?

MM - We have invested a lot in JEANRICHARD in the areas of product design, movement development and manufacturing. Our offerings today are unique: we create in-house manufactured timepieces (cases and movements) with a really modern and innovative mindset. Today, all movements for JEANRICHARD are manufactured in-house. I believe we have really interesting offerings. We have just been awarded sport watch of the year in Japan with the Aquascope for instance. And we will reveal some new interesting watches in next SIHH.

Courtesy of JeanRichard
 One of our main focuses for the next months will also be the distribution. We have just set up a subsidiary in Hong-Kong among other projects. The team there operates our business over China and South East Asia with really promising achievements…

JH - You and your brother Stefano are now by tragic necessity at the helm of the Sowind group. How are things progressing for 2011?

MM - We had been working with our father and involved in the management of the Sowind Group for over 10 years. Our plan is to perpetuate the entrepreneurial vision and spirit with a desire of continuity relying on our strong assets: a unique savoir-faire in the field of Haute Horlogerie, a priceless heritage, a magnificent design, technical and manufacturing culture and a unique movement portfolio. We have a very clear project in terms of industrial policy, product creation and distribution of our brands.

2011 is an important date for Girard-Perregaux who will celebrate its 220th anniversary. The worst of the crisis seems behind us know. Specifically, the demand from certain regions is extremely strong. Supply and production are again strategic issues.

JH - Both Girard Perregaux and Jean Richard have strong ties to motor sports - is this something that will continue in the future?

MM - Our attention has been and will be focused mainly on our watchmaking expertise, on our products. Then, motor sport is part of our family DNA; It is difficult not to be true to this…

Courtesy of JeanRichard

JH - Who else out there is making watches that interest you?

MM - I am very attentive to the work of other watchmakers… It is hard for me to name brands... But some products come to my mind. For example, the Monaco from Tag Heuer, the Omega Speedmaster, the most simple expressions from the Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso or the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak are definitely emblematic watches to me.

JH - If you weren't doing this, what do you think you might be doing?

MM - I believe it is really a privilege to work in the watch business. Specifically as an entrepreneur and running a family business. Watches are a passion and we have had the chance to shape our Brands, design our watches the way we see as right. Plus the challenges are great and need action!

I think if I was not doing this, I would like to be involved in activities where you also make products with a high emotional dimension. For instance, making wine must be really interesting.

JH - What do you like to do in your down time?

MM - I have always had a passion for travelling. I like to discover and explore new places, new cultures. By chance I do it for business, but also for my down time, if possible with my wife and my young boy.

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