In “Talking shop with…” we sit down with the movers and shakers of the watch industry. Some have a prominent role, while others work more outside of the spotlight. With this series, we want to give you an intimate insight into the industry in all its aspects. Guido Terreni, former Head of Watches at Bulgari and now at the reigns of Parmigiani Fleurier as its CEO, has a talent for making magic happen. Down to earth and modest, he combines a tremendous experience in watchmaking with a deep-rooted passion. Time to ask him a few questions;
The roots of Michel Parmigiani, the brand’s founder, are in restoration. How has this influenced the company, and does it still play a role?
Restoration is at the heart and roots of Parmigiani Fleurier. Restoration of rare and sophisticated antique timepieces and clocks requires the deepest watchmaking culture and knowledge. Its practice transforms you into a kind of encyclopedy ! And Michel is, he knows everything about the watch industry technical evolutions and finishings. This has been the basis of what was developed from the beginning of Parmigiani Fleurier en 1996, and still is. It drives our projects and launches thanks to Michel inputs of various topics. I could say without any doubts that restoration is the best source of knowledge you can have, it is the real matrix of fine watchmaking. Michel is the Honorary President of the company, so his role in not operational. However, he is extremely valuable to me as having access to him allows me to understand his values, interpret them for today’s world. He follows exceptional projects, as last year’s La Rose Carrée, that embody this legacy.
What do you consider the greatest assets of Parmigiani?
Parmigiani Fleurier is founded on two important values: the great cultural knowledge that Michel Parmigiani injected into the brand from his restoration work and a discrete and understated style. The outcome is a refined understated luxury that appeals to non-ostentatious watch purists.
The Tonda PF got a very warm welcome. Did you expect such success?
We were convinced to have created a very interesting collection able to redefine the Parmigiani Fleurier’s brand identity, respecting its core values for a watch lover of today. The apparently simple style is coupled with very refined finishings. The response has been incredibly rewarding, beyond our expectations. That is why we are confronted to an important waiting list.
The Covid-19 pandemic had quite an impact on the watch industry as a whole. How did it influence Parmigiani?
In 2020 Parmigiani Fleurier was severely hit by the crisis. I joined in at the end of January 21, and the fact we were confined allowed me to enter more in the brand, understand its values and its clientele. It was a great introspective work that clarified our strategic direction that you now see implemented.
As CEO, how do you plan for the future of Parmigiani?
I believe Parmigiani Fleurier has a very strong potential. It is a brand to be handled with care. The soul is deep, knowledgeable, and gentle. Therefore, the future must be built with consistency around its minimal-rich style, for a demanding clientele. Our aim is to nourish the Tonda PF and Tonda GT collection without proliferating the references. On the contrary, if we are introducing a novelty, it must have a clear role, be relevant as you saw in the latest Watches & Wonders with the World Première GMT Rattrapante.
And a few questions I am asking all the people participating in a interview;
Favorite food: Being Italian, I love food. I love good food. I can’t name specific recipes as the variety is huge. But I can’t resist to a good pasta al dente with sea food, raw see-food in the summer. But when I travel, I adore tasting local food and discover different tastes. As we say in Italy, show me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.
Favorite place: I’m not a repetitive person so I like travelling and discovering places and different cultures. My last trip before covid was in Patagonia motorbiking. A unique experience. But plenty of places remain in my memories, as Borobudur temple, Burma, Botswan or the Eolian Islands… I could go on for ever.
Favorite watch: The Tonda PF Micro-Rotor in steel and platinum. I’m attached to it as it is the origin of the redefinition of Parmigiani Fleurier’s brand identity. But also personally, as a manager, it has been a founding project, very challenging that pushed our teams to surpass themselves. It makes me very proud of them!