HIGH CALIBRE
The CEO Magazine Asia|September 2020
ITALIAN LUXURY WATCHMAKER PANERAI HAS LAUNCHED ITS INNOVATIVE COLLECTION, AND AS CEO JEAN-MARC PONTROUÉ TELLS EMILY PIDGEON, IT’S GUARANTEED TO LAST UNTIL 2090.
EMILY PIDGEON

At a time when only essential services are thriving, it is hard to see the silver lining but Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué is doing exactly that.

Responsible for 720 employees, Panerai was forced to temporarily close two-thirds of its global stores due to the novel coronavirus.

From Panerai’s HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, Jean-Marc sat down with The CEO Magazine in what has become the new norm of video calls.

“We didn’t expect the virus to land so brutally,” Jean-Marc explains. “Our first priority has been to see how we can save our employees.”

Working country by country, Panerai’s boutiques are operating to different measures across the world. Quarantine guidelines and social distancing restrictions have created challenging situations but each day inches a step closer to normality.

“Now we see some light in the tunnel,” Jean-Marc says. “We have recently seen boutiques reopen in China, the US, Germany – but we do maintain very low activity compared to the pre-COVID world.”

Many believe the novel coronavirus is nature’s way of slowing down the world, allowing for a much-needed climate reset and environmental recharge.

“People are re-approaching their priorities,” Jean-Marc says. “You don’t necessarily need to be in the speed of opening new products. Managing deceleration is a very different approach than always being in a race of more – more profit, more projects, shorter deadlines – this race where you have to run faster and faster.

“I think this deceleration is a very good approach to rethink how you can be happy, and not necessarily at any cost. It’s making many people – some for the first time in their lives – see that you can live differently and not in a never-ending race.”

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