Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Transfer Window has Opened - at Girard-Perregaux

Although obtaining official confirmation from Girard-Perregaux is about as easy as getting your cat to do what you tell it to do, word has leaked out that Antonio Calce has slung his hook and is pursuing other professional opportunities.  You may remember him from such roles as CEO of BOTH Corum and Eterna (at the same time).  And needless to say, that was such a bad idea that Corum and Eterna have tried it twice again and are having about the same degrees of success.   So much from learning from your mistakes...

And having heard it from (now) more than three sources, I feel it is safe to say that it is pretty likely that Mr. Calce is, indeed, in Girard-Perregaux's rearview mirror.  This news first came to my attention via Business Montres, which is an indispensable source for those of you hoping to stay up to date and in the know.

Losing your job sucks.  It is one of life's unavoidable truths that the person who thought of themselves as the hammer will eventually encounter a nail that can't be driven and will break itself in the process. 

I have said it before, and people have called me melodramatic, but I will say it again now.  Girard-Perregaux, as a brand, seems to be cursed.  There is a dark, funky cloud hanging over them that they just don't seem to be able to get out from under.  

I think that Kering, for all of their many talents and successes, simply do not understand the watch business.  But in fairness to Kering, I think that very, very few people really do.  JEANRICHARD is, at its heart, a microcosm of what ails both GP, and now Ulysse Nardin (and plenty of other brands out there that aren't owned by Kering).  And the irony of all of it is that JR actually had a fighting chance before the decision was made to put it on the ice floe.  It was short-term thinking rather than taking in the bigger picture.  To be fair to Kering, they inherited a LOT of problems when they took over these brands, and for better or worse, whatever problems were solved got replaced by new ones.

I love GP, I love the brand, I have come to really appreciate the people who used to be there but are no longer, I love the 1945, I love the passion and I love the "recent history" that was the passion that the Macaluso family have instilled.  And I really get frustrated when I think about it as a fan.  But love is sometimes unrequited ; )


I have an idea, and I think it is a good one -

Stefano Macaluso refers to himself as a "multi tasker" at Girard-Perregaux.  My idea?  It's time for him to come out of the shadows and take a more senior role.  And in fairness, if Kering were to balk at the idea of having a "family member" in charge, I would direct them to Arnault "the even younger" who is cutting his teeth at Rimowa as the CEO.  He is now 25 or 26 which I guess means he is old enough to buy his team a beer...  

My point is this - what made GP exciting was the passion that was instilled by Macaluso the elder, and I think that Macaluso the younger has spent more than enough time in the family business.  I have never personally met him, and in truth I do not suspect that if he were looking for a biographer that he would be calling me.  But I do think that he might just have the secret sauce that has been evading everyone else calling the shots at GP HQ.

Having said that, GP is not Rolex, nor Patek.  It is a brand that either calls to you or does not.  And the point is that it calls to enough people, on a virtually entirely emotional level, that it is time to start treating the brand as it is, rather than what people feel it should be.  A GP watch will be (for the foreseeable future) a personal, somewhat emotional choice for purchase.  And that's okay!

It's time to remember and embrace what made them what they were, and stop smacking their heads against the wall trying to be something that they never were.

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