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Graff - Interview with Nicolas Sestito

Graff Interview with Nicolas Sestito

The CEO of Graff looks back on his first year at the company, during which he has worked to improve synergies between the watch and jewellery divisions.

How have you been able to exploit the synergies between jewellery and watchmaking at Graff?
I think these synergies should be natural within the company. The watchmaking division cannot function properly without synergies with the jewellery division. Our product identity comes from the jewellery, so it was totally natural for me to create a bridge with Graff luxury watches. The timepieces needed to be coherent within the Graff product range. We needed to find a common language, because the two worlds are still quite different, despite some similarities. Putting all this together has meant that, even after just a few months, it seemed like we had been working together for years.


Is it possible to design a new jewellery piece and a new watch simultaneously, or does one necessarily lead to the other?
I think the very fact of bringing people together and working more as a team has naturally led the designers to come up with designs for jewellery and timepieces at the same time. When I receive designs now, they come with a brief and a mood board and the jewellery corresponding to the watch is often already there. Sometimes, it can be the opposite. We might have ideas for watches that we pass on to the jewellery division. The Snowfall piece, for example, started out as the watch but it has now been developed into an entire collection of jewellery.

How is Graff different from other jewellery brands that have moved into fine watchmaking?
We are always looking at what other brands are doing, of course, but it’s important that we stick to our roots. People do not come to us looking for something that they can find elsewhere that has the name “Graff” on it. Women come to us for products that evoke a certain emotion. For men, it’s a bit different and I would like to change things. The men’s collection in general needs to be more refined and elegant. The men’s watch at Graff isn’t ultra-complicated. We want to have something ready for next year that maintains the signature case design but nevertheless adds a technical dimension.


Interview de Nicolas Sestito

Which ladies’ and gent’s models best represent the Graff spirit this year?
Logic suggests that I should pick a jewellery watch, but the reality is that it’s the Floral Tourbillon that has proved most popular this year, because of the different types of craftsmanship it involves. It’s something a little bit different to the high jewellery pieces and emphasises the artistic crafts.
For men it’s a bit more complicated because we have some bespoke pieces that are very popular but by nature very individual. I love the Structural because of the case design and the movement. The future of the Graff gent’s watch should be somewhere between the Structural and the Eclipse in my view.


Interview de Nicolas Sestito

 

Two years ago you presented the most expensive watch at Baselworld. There seems to be less buzz about the most expensive watches this year. Did you not wish to compete because of the economic situation?
No, not at all. It’s nothing to with the economic situation. Last year we announced that we were concentrating on cutting diamonds, but Mr Graff never talks about the rough stones he has because he doesn’t want to jinx things. Then you saw the result with the Graff Venus we presented last summer.
But we’re not chasing records. We don’t need to. Our customers know the quality of our stones and our watches, so they don’t need this kind of reassurance in terms of the exceptional nature of our jewellery and timepieces.

What are your impressions of Baselworld 2017?
We are forging our own path and as long as we remain coherent with this there is no reason for us to worry. We all have to face the economic situation, so it’s all the more important for us to look for opportunities to move forward. And there are plenty of them: Graff is a family-owned company where decisions are taken quickly, where you can change course if you need to. Today we are a luxury speedboat competing with some large cruise liners, so we are more agile.

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