Start a brand new day with a freshly brewed cup of coffee in a company of a man who knows a thing or two about fine watchmaking.
Alexander Schmiedt, Brand Director Of Vacheron Constantin Middle East, comes from a family of watch enthusiasts and shares what makes the brand unique in today’s busy market and a few words of wisdom.
Describe your morning routine.
There is no routine, that’s the good part of my job, every morning is different. The only things that is different in the Middle East is the sun which I enjoy tremendously versus where I came from before in Europe.
Overall, 2018 was a productive year for Vacheron Constantin, what can we expect in 2019.
You can expect continuity of what Vacheron Constantin was doing last year, and actually what we’ve been doing for 264 years and that’s, if you really want to know the part of the success, it’s been consistently doing the same thing since our foundation in 1755. Nobody actually cares about if you are old, it becomes relevant when you can take this heritage which is unique, nobody can buy, which you have to live and make something out of it that is unique. In the end it means taking your heritage, inspiring yourself from that heritage and re-invent yourself constantly. That’s what we have done with the Overseas, that’s what we have done with the 56.
As brand, what sets you apart from the rest?
I don’t want to sound like a marketing professional, there is a new claim of Vacheron that we introduced in September 2018 which brings to the point what sets us apart – One of not many. Vacheron Constantin has always been one of not many, in our heritage, in our exclusivity that we always have maintained since our existence, and also in our aesthetic and innovation. We don’t follow any trends, we don’t create watches that we believe are ‘needed’ because a mechanical timepiece, even from Vacheron, is not needed by itself, but it’s something people really know is what they love when they see it. And also the exclusivity and the uniqueness of Vacheron.
What do you consider the brands greatest achievements in the recent years?
Consistently staying true to the roots and heritage since the beginning. That is something that is very rare. It can take you centuries to build a brand, you can destroy it in a couple of months. Of course every brand has it’s high and lows over the past of its history, but at Vacheron Constantin you can say that we stayed close to our roots since the beginning, very consistently, we have never fooled ourselves, we have never been opportunistic to what we believe was right for a certain moment in time, which I think is very important part of the DNA of Vacheron Constantin and our success.
You come from a family that has a rich history in watchmaking, how has that shaped you?
I think very much so. If you are passionate about watches, and you catch this virus, it doesn’t let you go. It continues to spread, and in my case it was a very positive infection. It started when I was young, my family was in watches and jewellery since three generations, and as a kid I used to grow up in the business. I worked a couple of years outside the industry because I wanted to see something else, and it was a great learning, but I knew after one year working outside the industry I knew I would eventually like to come back.
What has been the biggest challenge in an industry that is moving so fast?
I think it’s a unique opportunity for Vacheron Constantin, because today life cycle has become shorter and shorter, things become more automated, overflow of information left and right, in the end what becomes rarer and rarer is something that is made by a person for a person. In the end, the ultimate luxury is something that a real person makes for you and the beauty of Vacheron Constantin is that it’s exactly what we’ve been doing for 264 years. We can allow ourselves to really create watches which are as our brand one of not many, and we see that in our clients who appreciate that who are ‘one of not many’ themselves and in the time where everything becomes faster, these clients crave something that is made by a person and is there to last. You get a Vacheron Constantin, you love it when you buy it, the more you have, the more you love it the more it will be part of you. Eventually you will hand it over to somebody else.
What’s is the motto you live by professionally?
Enjoy your time and don’t waste it.
What do you still want to achieve?
Find the challenges and manage to master them every day.
What does travel mean to you?
It’s a big part of my life. Sometimes it becomes almost too much, but when you look back on it I would never miss it because in the end it’s always unique experiences. You meet interesting people from various ways of life. You work for a brand that offers you a variety of experiences which as you work for the brand you can share with our clients.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy your successes and learn from your mistakes.
What would you tell yourself 10 years from now?
Hopefully the same.
Complete this sentence: I’m happy when…
Directly after I managed a big challenge and I feel a peace of mind.
What do you say ‘no’ to?
Ignorance and intolerance.
What book are you reading at the moment?
The book I’m reading at the moment is the exact opposite of what I’m living every day. It’s from a famous German writer from the 1920’s, he’s called Thomas Mann and the book is called The Magic Mountain. It plays in the turn of the century, it’s in a Swiss sanatorium and it’s inmate patients and their lives. It’s about 2000 pages thick, basically nothing happens just explaining the beauty of the landscape and the beauty of the landscape, and it is so relaxing that it gives me a peace of mind.
How do you want the world to remember you?
With a smile.