IT’S ALL ABOUT VALUE
ANTONIO CALCE – Strong character, strategic vision, positive minded and more importantly realistic with objectives.
There are all sorts of characters who are capable to take on responsibilities that others do not wish to nor have the ability to match the size. There are plenty of titles that roam around this industry without a real impact or effect on their expectations. Some stick around because they simply have to and others just get on with it hoping that time will help but…
Antonio Calce the person and the personality I have known since more than 15 years and everything about him says it all: strong character, strategic vision, positive minded and more importantly realistic with firm objectives. A Chief Executive Officer who leads.
Throughout the years, Calce has always taken over responsibilities filled with many challenges to confront and in due course that demand immediate achievements. His passion to the watch industry drives him towards his vision to foresee the future of a successful leadership, consolidating his commitment for innovation and development. In all his past and present, Calce has always proven to the world that the real power in the product that you innovate is the strength of its DNA, its identity and what it all stands for. Revitalizing Girard-Perregaux from its almost dormant market presence, Calce brought out the best in Girard-Perregaux and the best in the people he works with to eventually shape up what I consider one of the finest watch Manufactures in Switzerland.
I met Calce earlier on in 2018 and we discussed many topics about Girard-Perregaux’s 2018 creations and the brand image for the future. Here’s some of what we discussed.
Have you changed Girard-Perregaux’s strategy recently?
We launched Laureato in full last year, and we have focused on this strong identity within Girard-Perregaux. We had not had a strong, steel collection offered in the past because we were focused primarily on the gold pieces. One of my first moves when I arrived at GP in 2015 was to introduce a new price segment with the 1966 in steel. It was a big success – a new product offer in a new price segment.
Two years ago I told our company that Laureato would be the focus in the years to come, and we started to work quickly to develop the collection, which we launched last year. We started with thirty-four references, and now Laureato’s place in our sales is very strong, more than fifty percent. Today we have Laureato in ceramic.
We are watchmakers and we have to be creative with our products. We also need to be fresher than the brand image.
At the other end of the price range, what is the inspiration for Esmeralda Tourbillon ‘A Secret’ we saw at SIHH?
When we launched Esmeralda last year, it was for the 150th anniversary of our Three Bridges. The original pocket watch La Esmeralda Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, created by Constant Girard and awarded a Gold Medal at the 1889 Universal Exhibition held in Paris. At that exposition, by the way, the Eiffel Tower was actually in second place. This is real history.
That pocket watch inspires the newer La Esmeralda specials. We felt it was nice to have pieces of art like this. We will produce only three pieces. This year it was the La Esmeralda Tourbillon “À secret”, which required more than 200 hours of work. I want to maintain its exclusivity, so there will be only one more next year. (Note that the GPHG jury in 2016 awarded the Tourbillon Prize to that year’s La Esmeralda Tourbillon. The same year, the jury also gave the High Mechanical Ladies Watches Prize to the Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Tourbillon with Gold Bridge).
Is Girard-Perregaux careful about gray market sales of its watches?
The goal of our parent company caring is to create value. If you have the best product for your brand, the best strategy, the best communication, but then you do not manage the distribution correctly, you kill the brand. You have to be careful today about who you work with to distribute your brand. You have to know how many pieces you placed on the market. Every month I keep careful track of the quantity we sell. We have taken back our contracted distribution in many countries, because today it is the only way to control the distribution.
Why has Girard-Perregaux begun partnering with musicians such as LP?
Yes we have partnered with LP but it is more than just about the music. It’s about attitude and our relation with the person. Yes I am impressed by what she does and about her open mind.
What are Girard-Perregaux’s primary attributes as a top watch company?
The goodwill, the perception of our brand. We are one of the oldest brands in the watch industry, with an incredible history. I have a piece of gold in my hand with this. It’s not just about sales, it’s about value. It’s like a mission.
COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS FROM OUR READERS