Post SIHH 2015: Watchonista’s co-founder, Marco Gabella’s comments
In the wake of both the first major watch event of 2015 and several exhibitions outside Palexpo-Geneva, Marco Gabella told us about models, leading figures and brands.
We promise we won’t tell, but please do tell us about your most unfortunate late arrival.
Since the press presentations of the SIHH are regulated like the flux of airplanes in an international airport, I was never particularly late but I rather felt like I was systematically moving from one appointment to another so fast that I sometimes wondered which stand or brand I was at.
Your most memorable appointment?
I found Parmigiani Fleurier’s stall the most pleasant as we moved around different displays in little groups and were given the necessary explanations as we saw the products. This intimate vision of communication enabled the brand to adapt its discourse to specific audiences. It also allowed journalists to ask relevant questions.
Your best selfie?
In fact, it’s rather a wrist shot I took on Wednesday night of a Vianney Halter Antiqua I had the pleasure of wearing that evening. When the watch was released, it had the effect of a cannon ball on the traditionally calm field of watchmaking. Some years later, this perpetual calendar is still – and will likely forever be – a remarkable and magical piece. I’ve added it to my wish list but I will have to remove another watch from it (I won’t say which one because I don’t know yetJ).
Your best encounter?
It’s quite hard to choose only one because I had a few nice meetings with skilled and passionate personalities. I especially liked the product presentation and shooting at A. Lange & Söhne with Clemens von Walzel, the Senior PR Manager. Von Walzel knows how to convey his passion for the brand without any partisanship or propaganda. He simply puts it in a large and universal vision of watchmaking.
Your most pleasant surprise?
Piaget’s “jumbo” version of the Black Tie. It seems to have come straight from the 1970s when it was worn by Andy Wharhol, amongst others. It has that unique charm only multi-shaped watches have, which makes us associate them immediately and unequivocally to one brand. Other examples are Audemar Piguet’s Royal Oak or, even closer to us, Bulgari’s Octo.
Something that struck you about the organization?
As I said, the fair is organized like a clock, if you allow me the pun. But too much organization can sometimes go too far. Whilst the SIHH is a role model for planning, the way we moved along the exhibition had been excessively planned. It felt like we had to follow systematic ‘paths’ rather than decide where to go, which was sometimes smothering. However, it is very pleasant to see the same skillful colleagues year after year. When we go to the Press Center, sometimes we have the impression that we are the regular customers of a Palace where the zealous employees immediately recognize us and attend to us. This is a real luxury.
Your shortest night?
To be honest, all of them were short. It is always the same thing, I stay up till late on the first day and I promise myself the following morning it won’t happen again. Yet, in the evening, my morning’s resolutions are forgotten because I get the opportunity to spend some time with people I like but whom I rarely meet outside the SIHH or BaselWorld. There will be time to sleep later.
Your longest day?
As a result of the aforementioned, all of my days were long because the appointments started early regardless of how short the night had been. That said, last Friday was particularly long as it preceded the 10th anniversary of the exceptional “Fondue Revolution” magazine.
Your favorite watch?
Sometimes the tiniest detail makes a big difference. Hence, I was seduced by a Panerai Radiomir. But not just any Panerai Radiomir; it was the Firenze; produced in a limited edition of 99 pieces in celebration of the renovation of the brand’s historical point of sale in Florence. By the way, the Firenze is only sold there. The steel piece was engraved by skilled Brescia engravers. They specialize in decorating exceptional hunting weapons such as those produced by Purday.
The contact you most look forward to following up on and to getting to know better?
During a conversation with Grégory Dourde, CEO at Preciflex SA, the “techno-fluid” sister company of HYT, we discovered that we shared a common passion for painting. I am very much looking forward to the next visits to our respective workshops and to our conversations. You see? Someone who is involved in pure creation definitely looks at his surroundings with a different eye. It’s true, said eye is educated, or even corrupted by habits and references and there is no place for objectivity since it is all a big pile of subjectivity. But that was not the question; I’m digressing.
The sentence or words that got to you?
“We registered record growth in 2014 and we expect to do better in 2015”. I wish both the “Swiss National Bank and the European Central Bank heard this praise as long as retailers buy products in these conditions. To be continued, to the tunes of sirtaki in the hope that we won’t all wake up with a hangover after drinking Ouzo.