As a 25-year veteran of the watch trade (11 of those years have been at Panerai), the fact that Cavadini had not taken the spotlight before was unusual. This is perhaps best explained by Panerai’s stance during Angelo Bonatti’s tenure as CEO when only he faced the press. I recall many a time that we wanted to feature someone at the brand, but there is only one CEO and many who crave an audience. There was a serious cult of personality around the man, which Cavadini explains with just a few words. All we know is that it was just as difficult to get 30 minutes with Bonatti as it was to get one’s hands on a Bronzo! Seriously though, it was all part of the mystique of Panerai - a military secret that had found a second life as a horological icon.
Taking advantage of our circumstances here, we even quizzed Cavadini about this mystique, and what that means for transparency. He gamely addressed this, which is unsurprising given that this is the year of the ELAB-ID (itself a study in transparency). Indeed, operational transparency is much rarer than even a grand sonnerie from a major Maison, and some observers have even told us - on the record - that Swiss watchmaking takes the view that the supply chain is of no concern to the public. Well, supply chains have suddenly taken center stage so watchmaking will have to adapt, as Cavadini tells us. He also notes that brands are already obliged to confirm where watches are made, as per the Swiss Made laws, and broader European Union statutes.
On that note, it is time to make the acquaintance of Jerome Cavadini, who gives the impression of a man who thinks actions speak louder and offer more clarity than any number of words. Do not take our word for it. His answers to our questions are telling.
Please tell us more about yourself, and your role at Panerai, where we understand you have been for some time. As a second part to this, how do you keep things fresh?
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