A Soho Sit Down With Roger Dubuis CEO Nicola Andreatta
On the eve of the launch party for Roger Dubuis’ new Soho Residence, created in collaboration with concept brand TheArsenale, Watchonista sat down with the watch brand’s global CEO, Nicola Andreatta.
For a brand with the motto, “No Rules, Our Game,” a move from Midtown to Soho only made sense. But, to then further embrace that notion by sharing a renovated red garage-esque space with a brand known for making boats and cars imagined by only the most daring of minds might just be pure genius.
With an emphasis on (great) form over function, the space allows for connoisseurs and creatives to hang out and enter the world of Roger Dubuis, and where’s a better place to start than with the global CEO?
Parts of The Past
Having attended Baselworld since he was sixteen and meeting Roger Dubuis twenty-five years ago, you could say that Nicola Andreatta leading the brand was written in the stars. So, with a family history in the industry and an undeniable passion for watchmaking in general, Andreatta’s enthusiasm for Roger Dubuis is evident in every aspect of the brand.
J.J. Owens: Having been born into the industry, what is your first watch-related memory?
Nicola Andreatta: Wow! I remember the smell. I am a very sensuously driven person. I love the smell of the factory – the smell of the factory and oil, machines making cases. Because it has always fascinated me that you start with a bar of metal, but by the end, you have a watch.
JO: How did the start of your career in Hong Kong shape and inform your future in the industry?
NA: I have seen every kind of watchmaking. I started at mass-produced brands in Asia, designing and selling the watches. But my experience spans every possible thing within a brand. All of that helps how I lead my team today. So, now, I can more effectively guide and shape the future of the Roger Dubuis.
JO: I have to ask, coming from a brand as demure as Tiffany & Co. to a brand that prides itself on taking risks must have been a bit of a massive change. How was that transition for you?
NA: Every single experience I’ve had in my life has shaped what I am today. I spent all my life in watches, and it was a satisfying journey, to be sure.
But today, to be honest, I am exactly where I would have loved to be years ago, leading one of the most exciting and complicated brands in the watchmaking world. I have an incredible team that can do things very few humans can do; I feel blessed.
A Fantastic Future
JO: What piece from Roger Dubuis’ current offering best fits you and your lifestyle?
NA: That’s like asking me who my favorite son is! It depends on the day, my mood, and what I’m doing. I love all our timepieces because of Roger Dubuis’ attitude of and belief in being different.
I am currently wearing the new Excalibur, and it fits perfectly. But, right before sitting down with you, I was wearing a single-flying tourbillon Spider in carbon fiber, which is very different. See! I can’t choose.
JO: As we all know, the watch industry is built on tradition. Was there ever any concern that Roger Dubuis’ radical approach would foster a negative perception of the brand, especially from those in the industry who are more classically inclined?
NA: I am super happy about being considered polarizing. It is something I want to develop further. The fact that you create emotions is what attracts people.
We are not for everyone, and I am happy about that. I want to connect with those who understand the message of the brand. We have a new breed of clients. Not just new to luxury watches but to luxury in general, and they don’t want the same things as their parents.
It’s not only about timepieces. It’s a way of life; it goes beyond making watches. It takes guts to stand out, and we love that – people who succeed in life experiment. And those are the kinds of clients with whom we resonate.
JO: What would you say is the future of Roger Dubuis?
NA: The future of Roger Dubuis is the future of watchmaking. We are inspired and connected by the past. That is to say: This industry is where it is today because of its past. But we need to continue evolving.
I don’t know where we will be in five years because every day is a new story. That is why our approach to watchmaking is unapologetically original. We represent a credible alternative to the classic.