Article : TIME N STYLE, Times of India, Jan-Feb 2006
   

DR. LUIGI MACALUSO
President of Girard Perregaux and the Sowind Group

 

 
   

Dr Luigi Macaluso, President of Girard Perregaux and the Sowind Group is no ordinary man. His feats are legendary, both in the profession he presently is in and on the race track where he has spent the better part of his youth. His love for sport, motor racing in particular, has had a strong influence on his life. In 1972, he won the coveted title of European Rally Champion at the wheel of a 124 Fiat Abarth. In 1985, he became a member of the Club Italia, a non-profit association to promote the history and heritage of classic Italian cars. So where does the adrenalin flow more, racing or making watches? The gentle man, who speaks softly smiles sweetly and says, “I think it’s both.”
Over to Dr Luigi Macaluso….

Life on the fast track…
“Motor sport is part of my life, it’s a part of my DNA. Now it’s just a passion. Before, it was a profession. I’m still involved in the sport in an active way. In life, there is a period for everything. You have to race when you feel you have the right mind for racing. I moved away from active racing due to several reasons… I got married. I also lost some friends in racing and I was not motivated in the right way to continue. When you are professional, you can’t race just for kicks.”

Michael Schumacher and Formula One…
It’s not the end of the road for Schumi. He is still one of the three best drivers that we have in the wolrd today. Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, the current champion, are the others. It’s a transition year and I know that in Ferrari, they are working very hard. Schumacher will be back next year…

Fernando Alonso, the new F1 champ …
He is a very, very good guy. He is just 24 years old, but very experienced. How a 24-year-old can be so solid is amazing. Fernando is a very impressive guy also because he is a Latin guy. The Latin are very different from Finnish drivers. As for the guys from Finland, they make the best pilots.

Motivated in the right manner…
“In life, nothing is easy. Maybe you can have some great opportunities but just very strong commitment and a will to improve yourself continuously and in the precise manner can lead us to achieve some goal. That will does not have to be only for professional goals, it can apply in your personal life, too.”

GP is not a tribal message…
“GP is a benchmark for the watch industry worldwide. We have extremely sophisticated movement. We are a family company and this gives us more flexibility. Owning a GP is a question of taste. You don’t buy a GP for others; you buy it for yourself. GP is for the true connoisseur. We are very keen on innovation and we have different ways of thinking. We invest not only money but also invest in technology. We are very interested in learning about the culture and other emotional fields of the countries we sell in. We are true watchmakers… As for the most spectacular Girard-Perregaux watch ever made, I think the piece is yet to be designed!”

Asia is where the buzz is…
Asia is very strong. It’s a very, very interesting market in which there is a very strong education. Like Taiwan fort instance. Malaysia and Singapore is a collector’s community. Japan is growing. Asia today is the next best part of the world and I’m not talking purely business here. There is a special mood here; the people are open-minded. They want to improve, not only buy. They are very interesting. This is something that is impossible to find in Europe today.

India calling…
India is a very interesting market because the culture and passion of the country is so important. Now, it’s just a matter of structure, distribution structure. I think the Indian market is like Russia and China. The culture is very important. You have a lot of interest and taste in India. The potential in India is fantastic, that’s why we are here.

Talking import duty…
Too heavy duties can reduce the evolution of the market. Take for example the Vintage 1945 Tourbillon watch with Three Gold Bridges. This watch is like an artwork. In the UAE, they create a certain monopoly, but it does not exist in India. If you have to protect your industry or manpower, I can understand. I don’t know why India should have such high import duties.

Music, art and more…
I love every kid of art. I like a lot of contemporary art. It's difficult for me to say which is my favourite piece of art. I prefer to read interesting stuff. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one such book. There are a lot of messages inside. It seems to be a simple book, but it is not a very simple book. I like this kind of reading. As for music, I’m very open. I like a lot of Pink Floyd. Drummer Nick Mason is a very good friend of mine. His father was an architect, a very sophisticated man.

On his children Stefano, Massimo, Anna and Margherita…
Both, Stefano who is 30 years old and Massimo (28 years) are into watches. Stefano is an architect while Massimo is also into racing. Anna (seven years) and Margherita (three years) are too small.

PORTRAIT OF DR LUIGI MACALUSO

• 1974: Graduates from the University of Turin with a degree in architecture. At the same time, pursues a career as a professional racecar driver for the Fiat team, winning many competitions as well as a few titles.
• 1972: European Rally Champion.
• 1973: Runner-up in European Rally Championship.
• 1974: Italian Rally Champion.
• 1985: Joins Club Italia, a non-profit association to promote the heritage and history of classic Italian cars. From 1991, he is its current president.
• 1997: Is named member of the CSAI (Italian Sports Car Federation).
• 2001: In November is elected President of the CSAI.
• 1975: Enters the watch sector where he begins working for the Italian company SIHH (Conseil de Surveillance of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie). Goes on to work in several departments: Advertising, After-Sales Service, and Business-Marketing.
• 1979: Is made director of SIHH’s subsidiary in Turin.
• 1982: Creates his own distribution company for watch products in Turin.
• 1987: Becomes official agent of GIRARD-PERREGAUX for Italy.
• 1989: Acquires share capital in the company and becomes a member of the Manufactory’s board of directors.
• 1992: On September 15, becomes President of GIRARD-PERREGAUX SA and GP MANUFACTURE SA. Also becomes President of two companies that will join the Group later: DANIEL JEANRICHARD SA (1996), whose activities he is instrumental in developing, and EMG SA (1997), a company specialising in the production of watch components and exterior parts.
• 1998: In November receives the 1998 GAIA Spirit of Enterprise-Industry prize. Awarded each year by the Man and Time Institute for activities, work and studies connected with time. This is the most prestigious prize in the Swiss watch world.
• 2001: He becomes a member of the SIHH.
• In November is elected President of the CSAI (Italian Motor sport Federation of Automobile Club d’Italia).
• 2002: Becomes a member of the Italian/Swiss Chamber of Commerce as well as member of the Consultative Commission for the Economical Department of the Canton de Neuchâtel.
• 2003: Elected by the Neuchâtel Chamber of Commerce, Dr Luigi Macaluso joins the member of the board of directors in May 2003.
• 2004: Elected vice-chairman of the Italian/Swiss Chamber of Commerce.

 



       
       
   

 

 
 
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