Exclusive Interview: Panerai’s CEO Angelo Bonati

Lara Mansour   |   02-09-2017

While at the Classic Yachts Challenge that took place in Argentario, Italy, we spoke to Panerai CEO, Angelo Bonati, as he dishes about the passion in today’s industry, making mistakes, and the message he’s passing on to the new generation.

Where is the emotion and passion in today’s watchmaking industry and how hard it is to maintain?

Passion is something that you can’t buy! You either have it or you don’t! Passion is linked to a philosophy, it is how you work, how you approach people, and how you involve them in your projects and products.

To me passion is as important as marketing. For example, when you buy and wear a specific perfume and you are loyal to it, why is that? It is simply because it gives you a certain feeling, an emotion!

In our industry, people should feel that you are giving them something special and different. You should give them that emotion. Today we are in an era of social networks and multi-channels. The language is changing since the world is changing, but in the centre of all of the above, and in addition to e-commerce, we should never forget the core, which is the passion and emotion.

Do you work well with social media?

I enjoy checking it from time to time, but not to post. I am not a fan of sharing every move I make.

Today what are the best performing watches from Panerai?

The Americas Cup watches sold out immediately, and we have a large number of clients on the waiting list.

What’s a message you would pass on for your teams?

Be Spontaneous! I’ve been managing people for many years but I was never the typical manager. Sometimes I am sweet and sometimes I’m strong, I am just spontaneous!

But being spontaneous can sometimes results in making mistakes?

Mistakes are a part of life! I will try to translate a famous Latin quote which sums this up, ‘Making mistakes is human, but repeating the same is diabolical.’

Have you ever made mistakes that you regret?

No, and if I had to repeat my life, I will continue to live the same way. Mistakes motivate you to do better and be better, but you must be humble to recognise and admit it.

What scares you?

When people are not sincere.

Have you been failed by people?

Many times.

And how did you react?

Positively! I tried to be professional.

Describe Panerai in 3 words?

Unique, Authentic, Coherent.

How would you like the industry to remember you?

Oh God! I don’t want them to remember me.

Do you want to be recognised for what you have achieved?

I have spent 20 years of my life at Panerai, which in a way is my life! What will I expect from my successors? For sure they’ll try to say that I was wrong. It is the ‘Ego’ factor, but this is part of life!

How do you spend your free time if you are not sailing on your boat?

Reading, listening to music, and trying to relax.

What book are you reading now?

Currently I am not reading a book, as I need to be relaxed to read.

What type of music you listen to?

Music gives me a good mood. I love Classic, Jazz, Rock, and Italian music, it depends on my mood.

Going back to your boat, I know your passion is at the sea, tell me more?

When I’m on the boat it’s just like hearing a music I love, it is a rhythm, you float, and you enter a new dimension. Being at sea relaxes me after working a lot, it is the perfect reward.

What do you tell yourself every morning?

I try to organise my day, my thoughts, and be positive.

a&e Editor-In-Chief Lara Mansour Sawaya with Angelo Bonati

By Lara Mansour Sawaya