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20th Anniversary
Panerai - Jean-Marc Pontroué

Panerai Jean-Marc Pontroué

CEO**

It was exactly 20 years ago, in 2000, that Jean-Marc Pontroué took his first steps in watchmaking. Previously, he had been working with Givenchy in fashion. Despite not knowing the first thing about watches, he accepted the challenge of establishing Montblanc as a legitimate watchmaker. He learned the new business quickly, launching Montblanc watches. His pride and joy at the time was the introduction of the TimeWalker – the firm’s first watch to sell for more than €3,000, which went on to become a best-seller.

Jean-Marc Pontroué

Jean-Marc Pontroué © Panerai

In 2011, Pontroué joined Roger Dubuis. “I quickly became aware that the clients of this atypical Manufactaure were very keen to meet us.” This realisation got him thinking – and inspired a brilliant idea that came to him as he relaxed in a Nespresso boutique sipping a coffee: why not give customers experiences? “If €6 gets me a capsule delivering an excellent product that I can enjoy in a china cup while relaxing in a really cool setting, what could we provide for a collector who treats themselves to a Roger Dubuis that sells at an average retail price of €70,000 in 2011?” He signed outstanding partnerships with Lamborghini and Pirelli, giving his clients access to the circuits, offering them on-track trials, driving courses and the like. This was an immense success and Roger Dubuis really took off.

In 2019, Pontroué joined Panerai – where he set about doing the same thing, providing more and more experiences. Twelve months on, he was already embarking on his third expedition. He has taken 30 clients to train alongside officers in the Italian navy; 15 to French Polynesia to meet freediving champion Guillaume Néry (who shared his expertise with delighted Panerai owners during a guided dive tour); and 15 other Paneristi to the middle of the icy wilds of the Arctic Ocean for an intensive course with Mike Horn, the greatest explorer alive. Pontroué has indeed come up with a new way of selling watches – to those who already have everything.

*Written by Hervé Borne

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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Every Panerai watch is as unique as the story it tells. Since 1860 Panerai has produced high-precision instruments and watches, developed and created to meet the most rigorous military standards. Today the very essence of Panerai remains the creation of technological innovations and remarkable instruments, that draw inspiration from the epic exploits of past and, at the same time, explore new disruptive paths.

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