Welcome back to an 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 are speaking with Pascal Savoy, who started up his eponymous watch brand, Savoy, after having headed up Hublot’s North American operations. Read on to learn what surprising material his first grail watch was finished with.
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?
Pascal Savoy: Born in Geneva, Switzerland, I was naturally drawn to watches. I worked for some large watch corporations and finally moved to the US in 1999 to run Hublot as their President for North America. I have since then created my own brand in 2011 under my last name, Savoy, and we are now in 22 countries. I could not imagine working in another industry; I love the branding and product development part of it.
ABTW: What, specifically, is it that you like about product development and branding?
Pascal Savoy: I love starting a project with a white page and building the watch, from the group-work up until it is on the shelves in a retailer. Whether it is for Savoy or for my consulting company, it is always a very gratifying process because I can remember every step that led to the final product, such as what options we took and why. So when you are so involved, it makes the process of selling so much easier. To me, branding and product development should never be separated, and we always link the two when we work.
ABTW: Did your education lead you to watches, or was it just an outgrowth of your own other interests?
Pascal Savoy: I have a BA in marketing and always loved selling or promoting products as opposed to promoting services. Working for a watch company to me was a no-brainer.
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
Pascal Savoy: My first job in the industry was at 26 as an Area Manager at Baume & Mercier in their HQ in Geneva, and I immediately fell in love with it. This is one of the only industries that is able, year after year, to recreate itself with the same basic principle. I just love the creativity aspect of this business and how we are able to constantly innovate.
ABTW: What was your first grail watch?
Pascal Savoy: When I was 18, I fell in love with a Certina moon phase complication dial. The watch looked a lot different than what the brand is today. It was displayed in a showcase, and I went to look at it almost every day.
ABTW: What drew you to this particular watch?
Pascal Savoy: I was drawn to it by its vintage look and its moon phase. Surprisingly for an 18 year old, the watch was in rose gold and I loved it.
ABTW: Was there ever a time in your life when you could afford it – and if so, did you get it?
Pascal Savoy: There was no way I could afford it fully, but I was fortunate enough to receive it as a gift from my parents when I graduated.
ABTW: Do you still have it? And having obtained it, have you moved on to something else as a grail?
Pascal Savoy: I would never sell this watch, so it is still in my collection today. After 20 years in this business, my grail watch has considerably moved up the ladder! I now like Greubel Forsey.
ABTW: Was there ever a time when a grail timepiece was “the one that got away”?
Pascal Savoy: Fortunately not – I have never felt that I lost an opportunity to add something to my collection.