In his 20-year career with the Richemont Group, Jean-Marc Pontroué has left his mark at Montblanc and Roger Dubuis, and he is now the CEO at Panerai. Here is his vision for building a sustainable brand with a strong personality.
How do you create a successful luxury product? There is no recipe for creating a luxury product, but Panerai’s code is to create a Limited Edition. Like the three Special Editions 2019, which foresee 15, 19 and 33 Submersibles linked to three celebrity representatives: the world freediving record holder, Guillaume Néry, the ice-circle explorer, Mike Horn, and Italian Navy Seals. The decision to engage Néry and Horn depends on the fact that their professional commitment is closely bound to the safeguarding the natural environment, while that of the Marines is in the company’s own DNA, since it owes its exploit – from a watchmaker’s workshop founded in Florence in 1860 to Supplier of the Italian Royal Navy in 1916 - to the invention of Radiomir, the systemm on weapon sights and spyglass rangefinders self-illuminating. Those who buy these limited items will take part in extraordinary experiences: 15 will go diving in French Polynesia with Néry, 19 will go to the North Pole with Horn and 33 will undertake special training with COM.SU.BIN, the Italian Navy’s diver and seal command.
How hard is it to work with recycled materials? Sustainability is an increasingly important topic for Panerai. In the Submarine Mike Horn, the model’s case, which protects the winding crown, the bezel and even the back cover is made of EcoTitanium. Panerai introduces this material into the world of high-quality watchmaking for the first time and it is made of recycled titanium. And the strap is in a material designed to minimize environmental impact, obtained from recycled PET. To be more exact, each strap takes three half-liter bottles.
Panerai is the official sponsor for Prada’s Luna Rossa team... Both of us develop high level technologies and we both aim for important results, starting from the use of sophisticated, resistant, fast materials - the result of constant research. Much to the joy of “Paneristi”, we have also launched a Limited Edition for this occasion – a Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible Carbotech, which includes shreds of sail in the dial.
How much does Made in Italy count in haute horlogerie? Panerai is the only high-quality watchmaking brand than can call itself Made in Italy because, even if our production is in Neuchatel, Switzerland, the headquarters are in Milan and the soul and design are 100% Italian. Our claim has always been “Laboratorio di Idee”, a concept that I wanted to be left in Italian worldwide, just as I have asked all our 80 boutiques around the world to greet their customers with a “Buongiorno”, so that, even in Los Angeles, like in our new boutique in Rome, opened in April.