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 Rudy Chavez, president of the North American arm of Baume & Mercier. Read on to learn what model from the B&M catalog eludes him even to this day.
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?
Rudy Chavez: My name is Rudy Chavez and I am the President of Baume & Mercier, North America.
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
Rudy Chavez: I had just started college and was working part-time in a jewelry store in New Jersey. It was there that I learned the jewelry and watch business, and over time, developed a strong affinity to timepieces. The best part of the job was being able to share in the special moments of our clients, and to assist them in selecting the perfect timepiece for themselves or their loved one.
ABTW: You must have been exposed to quite a variety of watches there – what was your first grail watch?
Rudy Chavez: It was a Croton LED watch that my wife (then my girlfriend) gave to me as a birthday gift.
ABTW: What drew you to this particular watch?
Rudy Chavez: The fact that she gave it to me.
ABTW: That is a pretty special watch, given who it came from. How did you return the favor?
Rudy Chavez: That time came years later, when I purchased my wife a Linea 18k white gold and diamond watch from Baume & Mercier. I was a sales manager for Baume & Mercier at the time, and had been working for the brand for a couple of years. She had seen the watch in one of the catalogs I had brought home and had commented on how much she adored the watch.
ABTW: So, what about today – do you have a watch you would currently consider to be your grail?
Rudy Chavez: I have had the privilege of working for Baume & Mercier for sixteen years. As part of the company, I have had the opportunity to wear most of the watches that were my favorites.
ABTW: You are right – you are in a unique position. If you had to choose just one, what would it be? Is there something that is out of reach, even for you?
Rudy Chavez: Yes, it was last year when we introduced the Clifton 1830 manual wind timepiece in 18k red gold. As the demand for the piece has exceeded our availability since it launched in April 2013, I have not been able to wear it. I look forward to being able to enjoy it on my wrist one day.