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Charles Girardier - Ten Minutes With Patrick Ulm: Discover The Man Behind Charles Girardier

Charles Girardier Ten Minutes With Patrick Ulm: Discover The Man Behind Charles Girardier

At the helm of the brand since 2018, Patrick Ulm tell us a little more about the brand and himself.

Passionate about watchmaking from a very young age, Patrick Ulm decided to revive the Charles Girardier brand in 2018. Intrigued by the apparent absence of descendants of the Geneva watchmaker (who died in 1839) and by the romantic character of his timepieces, he acquired the rights to the brand and two years later unveiled new models, including the Tourbillon Signature Mystérieuse “Fleur de Sel”, which recently won the Ladies’ Complication Prize at the 2020 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. WorldTempus set out to find out more about the man behind the budding brand.

Dix minutes avec Patrick Ulm : découvrez l’homme derrière Charles Girardier

Patrick Ulm © Charles Girardier

What first made you interested in the watchmaking business?
The genius and acumen of master watchmakers who made major contributions to mankind’s quest of measuring time, especially during the Age of Enlightenment. The historical context in Geneva, itself the cradle of watchmaking, and its rich heritage gave me the desire to devote myself to watchmaking in an effort of perpetuating it its tradition. 

Dix minutes avec Patrick Ulm : découvrez l’homme derrière Charles Girardier

“Signature Mystérieuse Fleur de sel” Tourbillon © Charles Girardier

What unique quality do you think you bring to your brand?
An unshakeable conviction that Charles Girardier will yield a positive outcome. The strength and intuition to imagine what Charles Girardier (the watchmaker) would have wanted to achieve with a timepiece if he were with us today.

Tell us about an experience that defines your leadership style.
When we brought together at one table a designer, a brand and product designer, a manufacturer with his craftsmen mastering the arts and master watchmakers—all experienced in their respective fields and proudly wearing the Charles Girardier blouse, representing a common purpose. Leadership means creating and maintaining an ecosystem that functions perfect harmony, one that is capable of adapting to any market conditions or any type of clientele and its particular needs.

Dix minutes avec Patrick Ulm : découvrez l’homme derrière Charles Girardier

“Signature Mystérieuse Fleur de sel” Tourbillon © Charles Girardier

Which watch do you wear most often, and why?
My Tourbillon “Signature Mystérieuse” CG never leaves my wrist. I am very loyal to my own brand, of course, but I especially like to feel what our customers feel when wearing a CG watch and observe the reaction of potential customers or aficionados when I wear it on my wrist.

Dix minutes avec Patrick Ulm : découvrez l’homme derrière Charles Girardier

“Signature Mystérieuse Chevrons” Tourbillon © Charles Girardier

What have you achieved as CEO that you are most proud of?
As CEO and founder of the brand, I am proud to have discovered a master watchmaker in Charles Girardier, who is the raison d’êtreof the project and the source of inspiration for our watches. This project has succeeded in convincing competent figures in Swiss watchmaking such as Oliver R. Müller (LuxeConsult) or Georges Léger (Timeless manufacture) to join us and others who be mentioned soon. 

What is the biggest misconception that people have about Charles Girardier? 
That our presence is only in essence and not sustainable!

Dix minutes avec Patrick Ulm : découvrez l’homme derrière Charles Girardier

“Signature Mystérieuse Chevrons” Tourbillon © Charles Girardier

On the other hand, what is one thing about Frederique Constant that is not well known, but super important, in your view?
Experts in jewellery and fine watchmaking are amazed by the quality of CG watches once they hold one in their hands. Our partner workshops in Geneva, open to aficionados and collectors, will be able to persuade those who did not believe in the enormous potential of our brand, thanks to the skills of the watchmakers and enamellers. 

Give us a one-word (or one-phrase) hint about your future plans for the brand.
Cioccolato.

 

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Having lain dormant for almost two centuries, the Charles Girardier name is back in the horological spotlight with men's and women's timepieces that are imaginative, playful but most of all entirely independent and proud of their Geneva origins.

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