Since Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey started the brand that bears their names in 2004, the brand has grown and evolved like a living entity in its own right. Greubel Forsey has become synonymous with being the ne plus ultra of the watch industry. To take the next step in the company’s development, the brand joined forces with Antonio Calce, an industry veteran and now the Chief Executive Officer, Executive Board Member & Shareholder of Greubel Forsey. We talked with him about the past, present, and future of Greubel Forsey.
How does your position as CEO relate to that of the founders, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, who are also still with the company?
Both founders, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey decided to take a step back in order to enable the establishment of a management team to ensure and secure the evolution of the brand in the future. As the CEO, Executive Board Member and Shareholder, I share a great relationship and complicity with Robert Greubel who is the President of the Board and Stephen Forsey who is the Technical Advisor.
What do you consider the mission of Greubel Forsey?
The mission of Greubel Forsey is always to push the boundaries further in the watchmaking industry, as it has always been since its beginning in 2004 with its 7 inventions and 30 calibers. Greubel Forsey needs to continue making people dream, to continue to create incredible inventions, to offer an uncompromising and recognized quality and to bring a lot of design in its creations with a lot of creativity.
Many of the techniques used by Greubel Forsey to make its watches are mastered by only a few. How do you ensure that this knowledge is passed on?
We are a team of 120 people at Greubel Forsey, with more than 25 people dedicated only to the product development. They all have different profiles: some of them are engineers, physicists, technicians, mathematicians, watchmakers… For many years, they have acquired all the codes, the expertise, the excellence and savoir-faire of Greubel Forsey thanks to both founders and it allows all of them to develop amazing timepieces, thanks to the very high skills of all our collaborators.
On another note, given the rarity of these skills, expanding production must be challenging. How do you deal with this in your strategy?
Everything is challenging in our daily job. Greubel Forsey is defined as “excellent” in the watch industry and its organization as well. For example, the hand-finishing workshop has 25 extremely qualified people. Obviously, to increase our production we will hire some very high-qualified people and train them to our high-end standards, but what needs to be understood is that newcomers will join an ideal environment where everything is already set.
Recently you bought back the 20% of the company that Richemont owned. Why was this step taken?
Greubel Forsey shared its ownership for many years and this was not needed anymore. The brand wanted to be fully independent in order to master the evolution of the future. It is a strategic move that will allow us to define the upcoming stages. Today, we are now three shareholders: Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey, and myself.
What’s in store for the future at Greubel Forsey?
We have many different projects in the pipe. For the product side, we launched an impressive timepiece in July, and another one in August. We know where we want to go, with a very clear masterplan that goes until 2032. We will surprise a lot with what is coming next by exploring new territories, but always by staying faithful to Greubel Forsey. You will discover true work of art and unlike you have ever seen. The next steps will set the brand in its reputation of excellence. Further still, the communication of the brand will be reinforced and developed, and the approach towards the distribution will be adapted to the brand’s need.
And three things I ask everybody:
Favorite food: Italian, Japanese and Chinese.
Favorite place: Where people that I love are.
Favorite watch: A timepiece that encloses a strong identity by its design, an amazing quality of hand-finishing, exceptional innovation and that remains exclusive.