Prix Gaïa 1998 – Luigi Macaluso. Entrepreneurship category
He was honored for the entrepreneurial skills he developed in his legendary company, a major independent actor of the watch industry which produced technically and aesthetically remarkable pieces.
- Creation of a watch products distribution company
- Development of a manufacturing concept
- Creation of Sowind Group SA
While he obtained his degree in architecture with flying colors, Luigi Macaluso also became a professional rally driver of the Fiat team. A skilled driver, he won several competitions, including the Europe championship in 1972 and the Italian race in 1974. It was at that time that he met and became friends with Luca Cordero di Montezzemolo, the current president of the Fiat Group.
At the age of 27 in 1975, he made his debut in the watch industry at the Italian branch of the “Société Suisse pour l'Industrie Horlogère” (SSIH), where he held many positions in different departments, such as advertisement, after-sales service, sales and marketing. He eventually assumed the role of the branch's manager.
The laureates : Yves Droz, Joseph Flores, Philippe Dufour and Luigi Macaluso
In 1982, he opened his own watch distribution company and, five years later, became the official agent of Girard-Perregaux. In 1992, Macaluso bought the majority of the share capital of Lorane Holding – which owned Girard-Perregaux SA and GP Manufacture SA - and took over the reins of both companies. After some time, two companies joined the Sowind Group; Jeanrichard SA – for which he developed the activities - and EMG SA – which was a producer of components and watch exterior parts. Under his management, Girard-Perregaux rekindled with its prestigious past in high-end watchmaking. Since 1992, Macaluso has designed and overseen the production of the manufacture's most refined pieces.
In 1993, Girard-Perregaux signed a co-branding agreement with Ferrari. To celebrate the partnership, the brand issued a split-seconds chronograph stamped with the Ferrari logo in a limited edition. Three years later, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Italian car manufacturer, Girard-Perregaux released “Pour Ferrari F-50”, which was released on an international scale in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
In1999, Macaluso was voted chairman of the “Association Interprofessionnelle de la Haute Horlogerie” (inter-branch association of fine watchmaking), which gathered eleven of the most prestigious watchmaking brands and two hundred of the world's most famous watchmakers-jewelers. In 2004, he was re-elected for another three years. In November 2001, he also became President of the CSAI (the Italian federation of racing).
The watches produced for Ferrari immediately gained huge success. In parallel, Macaluso developed the Group's manufacturing activities and strove to cultivate exceptional watchmaking skills for the brand, especially in Girard-Perregaux's Haute Horlogerie department of complications, the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges being the keystone.