During his recent trip to Mumbai, Angelo Bonati , CEO, Officine Panerai ,tells Hiren Kumar Bose ant Mitrajit Bhattacharya that Panerai countinues to be the point of reference for extra large watches...
Since 2002 you have done a lot of movements, beginning with P2000 series, P9000 and P3000. How have the movements helped the brand expand its bouquet of products?
We decided that if we have to make Panerai exclusive we needed to have our own movements. P2002 was a fantastic movement. It was a template for other calibres to follow. We need to have our in-house movements and create diversity compared to others who are dependent for movements on others. The watch may be different from outside but once opened we didn’t want to give the impression that it’s the same as others.
What new developments can we expect from Panerai in the near future?
We are working on incorporating both P2000 and P9000 series movements in the new watches we plan to introduce in the near future.
Radiomir and Luminor virtually define the personality of your brand. What makes these designs so iconic and what does it take to nurture them?
The originality of the products makes them iconic. We discovered that we had a fantastic watch. We were brave not to touch the case. Friends laughed at us for selling the ‘world war clocks’, as they described it. Thanks to Panerai’s doggedness and perseverance, the market came our way. Even brands like Rolex changed the size of their watches.
Panerai is aggressively looking at the boutique space, including one in India. What is the reason behind this change of retail strategy?The world is changing; the way to do trade is changing too. The booming of Asia is making us think differently because there is no tradition of boutique here unlike Europe. Moreover, multi-brand shops are either disappearing or not developing.
How important is Asia in your scheme of things?
Very important. In Europe we don’t change much. Here you’re obliged to change. We’re planning to open a boutique in Mumbai in November and then may be in New Delhi.
How does it feel seeing celebrities like Heidi Klum, Pierce Brosnan, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Bill Clinton et al wearing their favourite Panerai?
It feels great. What makes it more important is that all these people have bought the watches; we haven’t gifted them. Mr Bill Clinton has written to me about his Panerai. My testimonial is my client. It’s stupid to use a great person to promote a brand. That gives the impression that the brand is weak.