Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fall of the House of Macaluso

Word has trickled out over the past few days that the last remaining active family connection to to the man that pretty much willed Girard Perregaux back from the dead, has had his last day, and is moving on.  Per various social media postings, it appears that Stefano Macaluso has opted to leave the party.

For many of us, the sight of Antonio Calce's rapidly disappearing backside was a sign that things might improve.  And me personally?  I had hoped that maybe, just maybe Mr. Macaluso the younger would step forward to take a more active role.  And if I am completely honest?  I don't know that he would have necessarily done any better than the fellow who recently received his walking papers from his superiors at Kering HQ.  GP is a company that has made its bones mostly on sentiment, passion, emotion - the sort of things that can't really be explained or accounted for in a ledger.

I can only draw one conclusion.  Girard-Perregaux seems to be cursed.  There is no other way to look at it.  It is not a money issue, because there have been several rounds of cash coming in.  It is not for want of creativity, because they have plenty of that.  It is not for want of technical know-how, because it is clear that they have that in abundance.  And in some ways it is not for passion, because there have been some passionate people (at least with Mr. Sofisti, and the Macaluso family).  But sometimes, you can have everything going for you, and God, the Universe, your financial backers, fate itself decides that it just isn't going to be your year, or your decade.

But in my opinion, curses are meant to be lifted.  If the Cubs can win the World Series, if LeBron James can carry an entire city (Hell, an entire state) on his back and bring a championship that nobody ever felt or dreamed they would live to see? 

So what's next for GP?  I am not having daily phone exchanges with the Pinaults.  But at least insofar as their watch divisions go, maybe we should be, because they (or at least the people they are entrusting these watch making entities to) are making some monumentally bad decisions.  To the extent that I have to go back to the idea of a curse.  But maybe they could try something simple:

1.  Identify someone with experience who is not simply looking for their next CEO pay-grade job.  Find someone who gets it.

2.  Stop all of the bullshit.  GP IS NOT Patek.  Sorry, but it's time to put on the big boy pants and start facing realities.  Start making collections that have decent design, decent technical detail, and that will actually be purchased by actual customers.  Stop trying to solve all of your problems with a ridiculously expensive, esoteric watch that may win an award presented once a year by a panel of "experts", experts who are never going to buy one of your watches, but who will certainly be there for you so long as the "bar is open".

3.  Punch your weight.  There is an emerging middle place where GP could not only exist, but thrive.  But that will only happen if calmer heads start to prevail.

And most important?  For the love of God and all that's holy - get f'ing passionate about what you are doing!  This is a brand that people love, but GP has become about as exciting as a greyhound bus trip from Cleveland to Pittsburgh.  Why?  Because if the people running the thing aren't passionate about the watches they make and sell, why in f's sake should we be?

It's hard not to be romantic about watches, it's harder still to watch a good brand continue to trip over itself like a drunken octopus.  

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