Image courtesy of Roger Dubuis

Recently, aBlogtoWatch received news that longtime Roger Dubuis CEO, Jean-Marc Pontroué, would be leaving his post in order to take on the role of CEO at Panerai starting in April of 2018. Before becoming CEO at Roger Dubuis, Jean-Marc Pontroué excelled in numerous positions at luxury brands like Givenchy and Montblanc, where he worked as Vice President of Products & Strategy. Also evident is the fact that Richemont is still in the process of restructuring after announcing a major move to abolish their CEO position and several internal CEO shakeups not long ago. For Panerai (a brand that often looks to the past to fuel their current and future successes) this could mean a new era of creative innovation considering how well Jean-Marc Pontroué has been at spearheading creative and consumer-focused efforts in his previous roles.

For a while now, Roger Dubuis has been an industry leader in executing designs with interesting materials and techniques that aren’t necessarily common at other brands. This was evident during SIHH 2017 with watches like the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt and the Excalibur Carbon Spider, which utilized carbon for the movement plate, bridges, and tourbillon upper cage for the first time ever. During his tenure at Roger Dubuis, Jean-Marc Pontroué managed to streamline the brand’s collections, increase efficiency, set and maintain production figures, and foster meaningful partnerships like the recent connection with Lamborghini. Needless to say, he has also been very vocal about the importance of originality and standing out from other brands, no matter what market you’re focusing on. As a result, Roger Dubuis has been constantly pushing bold designs and out-of-the-box collaborations like the Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic Skeleton watch we went hands-on with here.

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Considering Panerai’s usual game plan centering on re-releases and heritage pieces, it will be interesting to see what the future holds with a leader like Jean-Marc Pontroué at the helm. At times, they’ve been criticized for drifting far from their roots as well as historical inaccuracies. But, we’ve also seen Panerai’s ability to experiment with new materials and in some ways, this Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech almost feels like it’s actually “Roger Dubuis-inspired.” All things considered, it’s safe to say that Panerai has much to gain from a focused CEO with experience in product development, streamlining collections, in-house development, and meaningful partnerships. Will we be seeing more interesting releases from Panerai under this new leadership? It might be too early to tell, but the possibility is there and we’d actually welcome it. Also, with SIHH 2018 right around the corner, one can only wonder if Mr. Pontroué has already had a hand in any soon-to-be releases or new Panerai initiatives.

aBlogtoWatch spoke with a very enthusiastic Mr. Jean-Marc Pontroué about the new role at his “favorite Italian watch brand.” It is standard protocol for many watch brand CEOs to take a few months prior to giving formal interviews. Jean-Marc will be sharing more about his plans and ambitions at Panerai with aBlogtoWatch in the spring or summer of 2018.

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