Talking Shop With Coralie Charriol, CEO of Charriol

Coralie Charriol is a woman who likes to make waves, whether it is standing on a surfboard, or guiding the brand that her father founded in 1983. While best known for its cable bracelet watches, Charriol has more to offer. Passionate about everything she does, we sat down with Coralie Charriol, talking about how it is to have the role her father once had, and where she gets the inspiration to not only design watches, but also jewelry.

Coralie Charriol, CEO of Charriol

You followed in the footsteps of your father as CEO of the brand. How has this experience been for you?

My father and I were very close, but what helped guide me the most as I stepped into the leadership position for the brand was all the time that I spent working alongside him. He was deeply encouraging, but he expected everyone to advocate for themselves and to work through challenges on their own. In that way, he instilled the confidence I needed early on in my career. He was quite fearless my dad, and every time I waver a bit on a decision for Charriol I am able to channel his bold joie de vivre – and take whatever leap of faith is in front of me. 

Company founder Philippe Charriol (1942 – 2019)

There is quite a bit of heritage in the brand. What role does this play as you map out the route for the future?

Our house codes are timeless and identifiable, which puts us in a rather enviable position. The twisted cable grounds and guides everything we do, and I find that having those parameters to work within actually pushes us creatively to find new ways to reinterpret the motif. A great deal of the design work we have done in the last few years involves extensive study of our archive and I think it’s paid off – both commercially and aesthetically. We are thriving because we are finding new avenues for the brand’s foundation. The combination of the familiar and surprising is really the best sweet spot. 

What do you consider the core assets of Charriol?

Everything begins with design, so our most important asset or brand pillar is the twisted cable. Everything begins with that motif – it’s as important as our name. But I would also add that materiality is an elemental asset of ours. Stainless steel is our basic building block – and there is something so classic about that. I truly love the steel torque. Aesthetically, it feels modern and useful, sleek and aerodynamic. It is a material that symbolizes progress, innovation, and grit. Finally, we are a watchmaking brand, working in the spirit that my dad set 40 years ago. It’s a pleasure to expand our offering and build out the universe around timepieces, as we have done with the new St Tropez, but the craftsmanship and precision of Swiss watchmaking is still at the essence of our work. 

The cable design is an essential part of the DNA of Charriol

Jewelry is also part of the collection. How important is this, and how does this relate to watchmaking?

From a creative stance, jewelry has always been a point of experimentation – a way to try out new materials and forms before they graduate to timepieces, which require more commitment from the buyer. That continues to hold some truth, but since taking over as CEO, I’ve started to see how the jewelry can also respond to the watches we design and I’ve really enjoyed creating collections that expand upon each other. The St Tropez redesign is a great example of that. When we reconsidered the watch design, we redid the bracelet that accompanies it as a bijoux montre. The links changed to a more oval form, and the effect was so beautiful that it inspired a whole collection of jewelry – the St Tropez Mariner. What started as a simple watch redesign has now bled into a few seasons of new material, and I think it helps to think of the Charriol woman as we create these pieces – how the jewelry sits with the watches she collects and what pieces might be missing in her jewelry box. 

You also play an essential role in the creative process of the brand. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Travel! I have quite insatiable wanderlust and hit the road every chance I get. It really revives me to visit a new place or find a new way to experience a favorite city. I love traveling for work or with my family, and I always try to get in at least one museum or artistic site wherever I go and really do my research on food so I don’t waste time. I also have a soft spot for nice hotels – but for more than just comfort! I find that good hospitality can be endlessly inspiring – for design, communication and intention. I always come home with some new idea of how to improve what we do. 

As a CEO, what do you consider your most important task?

Every job is ultimately about the people you work with, so I consider it an honor to lead a team and play to everyone’s strengths. It’s a skill I learned from my dad – that if you believe in people, they will rise to the occasion. We make beautiful things, but ultimately, our business is about people – our customers, our vendors, our partners and our team. 

To learn more, visit Charriol, here

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