The CEO of Girard-Perragaux,Stefeno Macaluso, shares his passion for the arts, the heart of the watchmakers philosophy, with Mitrajit Bhattacharya
Your designs are much appreciated. Could you elaborate on your design philosophy?
Design is always a matter of culture and attitude. My father and I decided on being architects because in Italy it is always great to be a designer.
From where did you graduate?
I graduated from a polytechnic in my hometown of Torino in Northwest Italy, which is mostly famous for Juventus and for the car industry. And that’s why it’s in our DNA to focus on design. In our case, the balance, proportions, details, etc, are really important.
You have a wide range of products from Laureato to Vintage 1945. Can you associate any of these lines directly with your father?
The idea of Laureato already existed in the company. My father was involved in the designing of what we call the Evo2 and Evo3. The Sea Hawk is one of the most original and interesting designs ever.
You and your father have been involved in music festivals like the Moritzburg Festival in Dresden. Is that an artistic route that the brand follows?
Yes. We had a partnership with them, but it’s just through. Now, we start with the Menuhin Festival. We are thinking about new projects for the future too. And we are also thinking about art exhibitions, maybe in the US or Switzerland. Art is a part of our life. We spend our free time visiting exhibitions. We also have a very selective collection of art pieces.
What kind of art pieces do you collect?
We collect modern, contemporary art like sculptures, paintings and photographs.
Any famous painter that you’ve taken a liking for?
I mostly prefer Italian artists. In Italy, we have started a movement called Arte Povera, a modern art movement that is recognised worldwide. Also, we have very special paintings from Le Corbusier.
He is very famous in India as well, particularly in Chandigarh.
I’ve got to visit Chandigarh, as it has been designed by Le Corbusier.
How do you feel about your father being conferred the Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito del Lavoro?
I think for a businessman in Italy it’s the most important award. It felt great since my father was the only Italian businessman to have been awarded for a company developed outside Italy. When my father was developing the company, he also worked a lot in Italy with his own distribution company. Also, it’s a very special ceremony held in one of the most beautiful palaces in Rome, The Palazzo Quirinale, official home of the President of the Republic.
What takes you to quartz again as you celebrate the 40th anniversary of your quartz movement?
We have a new model but what is interesting is that even this commercial model is important for the collectors. There are only 40 pieces in the world and it’s also very special as we have no plans to again produce the movement that has been used. The model we have done can be defined as a luxury of quartz movement, because it has the same level of quality as a mechanical one.
Your association with quartz goes back a long way.
Yes, it does. Girard-Perregaux established the perfect frequency for all the quartz watches, which is 32.768 hertz. This is a big achievement in the history of timekeeping in the world. It was later established as the world universal standard for the frequency of the quartz movement, introduced by all the brands. It was patented in 1971.