Welcome back to an original aBlogtoWatch feature, “My First Grail Watch”. In this series, we ask prominent people in the watch industry about the first timepiece that they lusted after. Today, we’re speaking with a gentleman who got his start managing the official timekeepers at all manner of sporting events, and today finds himself the COO at JEANRICHARD, living in the heart of Swiss watch country. Please welcome Bruno Grande. You’ll find that his first grail is a watch we’re all quite familiar with – and one you may even have in your own collection.
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?
Bruno Grande (BG): I am a Swiss and Italian citizen. I love sports, I am married with two kids and live in a small village between Geneva and Lausanne. I started my relationship with the watch industry while as a student. I wanted to discover the world and I did so by managing the official timekeepers for many sports events (F1, T&F, ski,Motogp…etc..). This brought me in close contact with many Swiss timekeepers which are now my friends. My first real experience with the industry was when I had the chance to join Swatch as a trainee when Nick Hayek JR was President.
Thanks to the leadership of both Mr Hayek Sr and Nick Jr, I managed to learn about the industry and its inner-works. From there, I continued to evolve within the SG organization in Swatch (when Michele Sofisti became President), Swiss Timing and as Head of SG Sports Marketing. I then joined the Binda Group when Michele was in charge of the restructuring of the start-up brand Wyler Geneve.
We worked on the product development, repositioning and its distribution network (extending it from zero POS to 150 in less than two years) but following some divergences with the owners. After Wyler, I consolidated my product and industrial knowledge as director of Swiss Madness Group, a consortia of watch parts suppliers such as dials, hands, spring etc. I joined Michele again over a year ago at the Sowind Group, where he had been appointed CEO by the new majority owners, Kering Group (then known as PPR). I am now in charge of the global restructuring and repositioning of JEANRICHARD, as well as the private label development (movements and finished goods).
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
BG: As an Italian, I must admit that the watch making art was not in my DNA (even though I’m a bit Swiss German, so punctuality was always important to me). I became fascinated once I had the opportunity to discover the heart / art beating within the product.
Anyone who has the opportunity to visit a manufacture and has the chance to see the people and the work behind a timepiece I think will then have a different consideration/perception for watches, a total respect and immense fascination for this art and all the different craftsmanship related to this industry.
ABTW: What was your first grail watch?
BG: It was the OMEGA moon watch, after many Swatch models (which I still have and that are the joy of my children).
ABTW: What drew you to this particular watch?
BG: The timeless design, the fact that it was manual instead of automatic, and all the stories behind it. And, of course, the moon fascination and history of the brand.
ABTW: Was there ever a time in your life when you could afford it – and if so, did you get it?
BG: I had the chance to receive it as a gift for my 25th birthday
ABTW: Do you still have it? Or have you moved on to something else?
BG: Yes, this is one of the watches I cherish and that I will keep forever. Today, with a deeper knowledge of the product, my dream watch is a Patek Nautilus. I think that this is the ultimate watch one can dream of – on top of a JEANRICHARD Terrascope, of course!