A&E Interviews: Louis Vuitton’s Timekeeper Hamdi Chatti

Lara Mansour   |   30 - 01 - 2018

 

The name Louis Vuitton may not have come to mind when you’re thinking about buying a new Swiss watch, but Hamdi Chatti, vice president of Louis Vuitton jewellery and watches, has gradually paved the way to ensure that this will happen, especially with his recently achieved Seal of Geneva.

 

Given his extensive background in high-end watches and jewellery, which includes stints in Piaget, Harry Winston and Montblanc, Chatti seems like a perfect fit for the sector which was established more recently than other watchmaking competitors. Proving to be an exciting venture, with the acquisition of La Fabrique du Temps, a Swiss movement specialist, and the integration of Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking manufacture in Geneva in 2014, the French Maison is ready to stand tall among the giants in the game.

 

 

To what extent do you think the Seal of Geneva is still important today?

There is a whole process at the laboratory for certification, and to make sure that as far as design execution and accuracy have met all the requirements, so it is not an easy process. I think what we are proudest of is not this, but because it is also beautiful. Even though this seal of approval is not necessary as it isn’t known by everybody, I wanted it because it is an instant mark of pedigree. This results in a beautiful aesthetic with outstanding quality.

 

Tell us about the prerequisites for this?

You need to design, produce, and assemble the timepiece in-house in Geneva. It is a strict process which must be carried out by a certain watchmaker.

 

Can you share with us more details about how you present the watches to clients?

Every two months we go to a part of the world where we organise events outside of the store in a beautiful location, and we show our clients the details of the watches with the watchmaker. I believe that it is not only about the product, but also about the emotion.

 

You also offer personalisation, can you tell us about this?

We have had bespoke and personalisation services within the company since day one. With the watches, the way we do it is not just by engraving your name, but also offering different bespoke options.

 

What is your strategy for both watches and jewellery to go beyond the fashion clientele?

To me, first it is about our duty which is beauty. When we have this and an emotion we can explain about what they stand for in terms of quality and manufacture. However, my starting point is never how good we are, it is how beautifully we can design our product, because at the end of the day this is what it is all about. It should always start from the heart and go to the brain, not the other way around.

 

 

To what extent do you think endorsements are important?

The brand is so big with different celebrity endorsements, so in watchmaking my best endorsement is the Seal of Geneva.

 

Can you share with us your future objectives?

To have more people who are not Louis Vuitton clients becoming aware of the fantastic things we do here.

 

What is your biggest challenge?

Finding new watchmakers, as we often have to change them because our complications are different from the competition. Occasionally the client requests new things and they don’t want to wait a long time, so my challenge is to find people who can create what is desired.

 

How would you describe the Louis Vuitton watch world?

Dare to have new emotions.    

 

What are you wearing on your wrist?

Today, I am wearing the Tambour Horizon, which is a connected watch because we are close to the weekend. Although it is beautiful, it is also amazing for the weekend as it provides all the information I need, from where to visit to which restaurant to eat at.

 

 

Tell us about the sourcing of leather for the straps?

Most we source within the company, and we also have our own alligator farm that only produces for Louis Vuitton.

 

What can we expect in 2018 for high jewellery?

We have started to see some of the pieces and they are amazing, and as always we will be presenting them by the sea.

 

How would you describe your personal style?

A lot of contradiction, depending on what I need to do, whether it is business, fun, serious, or playful. The challenge is mixing.

 

What are the three things you hate most?

Monotony, a lack of trust, and being without freedom.

 

What is a life lesson you would share?

Do whatever you would like, and don’t follow rules and limitations.

 

 

Can you share with us your personal motto?

Rather than a motto I prefer to start my day with a smile.

 

Tell us your resolutions for 2018?

It would be to read more as I used to read a lot, especially intricate things about physics as I am an engineer by trade.

 

How has your education served you in your current role?

It helped me a lot because it allowed me to understand how to do things easily in terms of the product and organisation. Although, sometimes the challenge is to get away from this structure and bring emotion.

 

Speaking of emotion, how important is passion?

Passion is crucial because you can create new ideas and make them happen if you have passion.