…So Alex, you have decided to move to the US, near LA in California. Why, and for how long? And what will happen to your business activity in Rome?
Yes, it is absolutely true. I have not worked out the final details yet, but the project I intend to complete at the moment is this. For how long? I have no idea. Enough time to fully enjoy the experience, I guess. And to see first hand the real implications that this choice will bring to me and my work. I imagine to stay as long as I don’t have to go back to Italy . I would say a couple of years, more or less. As far as my business in Rome, it will still be open to the public, as it has been for the last twelve years. I think it is the right thing to do to leave it to my long time collaborators the whole structure, giving them the opportunity to continue working as they did for such a long time. In particular, Gilberto Staffieri will head the new management in total autonomy, though he may still rely on my support from time to time.
Do you think the US market is more interesting, or that it may provide greater opportunities for an operator in your sector?
The US market is certanly very interesting for the simple fact that, compared to our, when we speak about collectors, is still in its infancy. That is there is the same enthusiasm of our early days, but with the advantage of greater means, a much less conservative consumer culture than ours, and a greater ease to unconventional investments. Moreover, although the territory has been largely “sacked” for at least twentyfive years now, there is still a lot of interesting stuff that keep coming up from nowhere, and this is for me an irresistble attraction. After having said this, the fact remains that most competent operators of the globe are in Italy, and the same can be said about collectors. Besides the fact that the most beautiful watches known to the market are now all in Italy… One cannot really say that the US market is “more” interesting, I guess. But is it is interesting at least for me.
Are you going to open a new store in Los Angeles? Or what do you have in mind? Are you structuring the new business differently than the one you have managed in Italy in recent years?
I have not decided yet. Certainly I want to take a break from store life, for a change. For the time being, I am working on a research project that is of great interest to me. This will keep me busy for at least one full year, and I am constantly engaged in hunting outclass object for those customers who do not find a store structure essential. I already have my own office and as for later, we’ll see. The first step is the creation of a new website, which should be ready in late january. I plan to run my business this way: office and internet.
Aren’t you afraid of the idea of finding yourself thrown in a completely different world, in terms of personal and family as well as professional aspects?
Actually, I have lived in the US before as a student for three consecutive years of college. This is a natural continuation of a story that began in Seattle a long time ago. For this reason, from a cultural and social point of view, I have never felt like a fish out water in this country. Moreover, it’s a world I know very well thanks to my job, and the numerous trips I have taken there. Last but not least, I can speak american english almost like italian. In the end the novelty and the differences found on my path that attract me: they fuel my sense of adventure and curiosity.
And I also think that also for my family there will be much to learn, besides language. Traveling and living in different countries broadens the horizons also from a psycological point of view, and I talk with full knowledge of facts. It will be fine, and for my family will be an essential and unforgettable experience.
How will you follow your old clientele? And how will you be found by those you wish to stay directly in touch with you?
I never followed any clientele. Fortunately it’s the clientele that follows me, presently composed mostly of old friends. It will not be the distance to change things! Another phone number and the mail, which will remain the same, and Skype, Ichat etc. I think that in LA I will be seeing some of them more often than I actually see them in italy… This will not be a problem at all. For the clientele passing through, and for the resident one there will be the Rome store, Time Team, where they will find the same offer and same service as always. Maybe even a little better…
What will be the most significant changes of the new professional aspect, in particular regarding to the type of watches that you will want to offer your customers in the near future?
Very simple: less watches and a better targeted selection. Not being in need of satisfying a generalized request, trying to maintain availability of the most popular items, I will be able to focus all my attention only on those “special” pieces that are quite interesting to a market niche, but that gives me more fun. The same old story: an exceptional state of preservation, unquestionable integrity, leftover stocks, particularly rare models. Although, I repeat, sometimes the real rarity of a watch is given largely by its condition, rather than the type. See you later!