Welcome back to the original aBlogtoWatch feature, “My First Grail Watch.” In this series, we ask prominent people in the watch industry about the first timepiece that they lusted after. Today, we’re speaking with Michele Sofisti, who has been in the watch industry since the mid-90s, and has be at the helm of a number of luxury watch brands which as of today includes running Gucci Watches, Girard-Perregaux, and JEANRICHARD. Yes, that is a lot. With his grail watch, I think many will find it refreshing that it was a timepiece that many aspire to, or perhaps even have already acquired – and certainly a common one in the grail watch series. What I think is most unique here is that Mr. Sofisti eventually ended up working as CEO of the brand who made his first grail – nice bit of synchronicity there!
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?
Michele Sofisti (MS): I’m CEO of Sowind Group, as well as CEO of Gucci watches and jewellery. I entered in this passionate industry in 1995 and I served as President and CEO of Brands like Omega and Swatch, among others. I must say that after so many years in the industry I’m now definitely taken by watches which are objects of design and technical complications. I’m also drawn by those that push me in seeking to push our company’s innovation and R&D in a very strong way.
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
MS: As I mentioned, I entered the industry in 1995 at Omega. I was not an expert or a collector at that time. I was looking at watches with interest but in a superficial way. Watches then entered in my life in a strong way and I feel now completely involved.
ABTW: What was your first grail watch?
MS: As a kid end of sixties and seventies, I was watching the Apollo Missions to the moon and I got so intrigued that, when I could afford it, I bought the “moon watch” – the Omega Speedmaster. It was incredible for me many years after that to go to Switzerland to work at Omega and to meet the astronauts I was watching as a kid on TV.
ABTW: As you mentioned, you got to a point where you could afford the watch, and bought it. When did that happen for you?
MS: It was not easy for me to get that watch which was too expensive for a young student. But, saving up and summer jobs allowed me to achieve that goal.
ABTW: Do you still have your Speedmaster? Or have you moved on to something else?
MS: I do not have that particular watch anymore but, working at Omega I could replace it with other models of the same product which I still have. The point is that, being an executive in the industry I ‘m absolutely committed to the Brands I work with. Today if I wear a watch, I proudly wear a Gucci watch, a JEANRICHARD, or a model from Girard Perregaux.