CEO + Co-Founder
Glam Rock Watches
For the fourth ‘Sig Survey’ we spoke with Enrico Margaritelli, co-founder and CEO of Glam Rock Watches. Margaritelli, a third-generation watchmaker and designer, co-founded Glam Rock with his wife and business partner Isabelle Maujean in 2005. The couple met while they were both at Fossil and shared a common dream to create a unique watch that incorporates the seriousness of Swiss Made construction with super-chic and fashionable components. The dream became a reality, as Glam Rock has since gone on to achieve a cult-like status in the fashion world.
Prior to founding Glam Rock, Margaritelli was a partner of Fossil Italy where he coordinated the launch of Fossil for the European market—European wholesale now makes up 32% of Fossil Groups’s total sales (2010.) He went on to become President of the License and Luxury Division of the Fossil Group, based in Dallas, where he launched the Emporio Armani watch collection. Subsequently, Fossil went on to acquire the licensing rights to DKNY, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Burberry.
Their vision for Glam Rock Watches draws on that fashionable heritage, bringing fine Swiss movements to life with exotic French leathers, and Italian materials that create unique timepieces. However, the key to Glam Rock’s overall success is unequivocally in its flexibility—in both product lines themselves, as well as their strategic business approach. Margaritelli and Maujean have created highly customizable timepieces, for both men and women, fitting every Glam Rock watch with a patented interchangeable strap and bezel system making it possible to create virtually limitless combinations of looks from one watch.
Glam Rock’s wide swath positioning and marketing strategy offers watches that range from affordable (under $1,000) to aspirational ($15,000) giving Glam Rock the very versatility and flexibility delineated in Michael J. Silverstein and Neil Fiske’s “Trading Up” (Penguin Portfolio, 2003, 2005, 2008.) In fact, if Glam Rock had been a slightly more mature brand when Silverstein and Fiske were writing their latest revised edition, it could have proved to be a perfect case study.
Glam Rock’s Miami studio also serve as their U.S. base of operations; their headquarters is now in Dubai—one of their biggest markets. Our interview transpired via email.
How would you describe Glam Rock style? A Glam Rock watch is a quality product for people that buy and use items that are comfortable and unique, which communicate strong personality and style. Someone wearing Glam Rock is not attached to the idea of brand names, but rather iconic styles.
What’s your definition of luxury? Luxury products are made with a high regard for materials, details, technical research, graphic balance and design. Beyond that, luxury evokes a feeling of reassurance – an investment in comfort and knowing you will enjoy something for a long time.
What’s your assessment of the luxury market today? In some markets, the concept of luxury has diminished and the perception of what is real luxury has been diluted. Consumers often mistake luxury for labels or simply what is more expensive. Real luxury does not need to be branded in order to be defined as luxury – the product should speak for itself.
Is the US still a market driver for your business? It is a very important market, but is not the one driving Glam Rock’s main strategy. Asia requires a great deal of attention at the moment because it is an upcoming market – more design, more research, and specific strategies. US consumers are currently interested in value at ‘sensible’ retail prices and most of our strategy revolved around that point.
What has been your most challenging project to date? If I look at my past, Emporio Armani watches was the most important and large business I have ever built from scratch. We expanded to 87 countries with more than a $200 million turnover. This was largely possible thanks to the strong support of Mr. Giorgio Armani. However, Glam Rock is a different challenge as it is only my wife Isabelle and I. Glam Rock is our ideas, our designs, our styles and our concept of distribution. It is a smaller business but definitely a bigger challenge for us.
Describe the ideal Glam Rock client. Glam Rock customers are active, strong personalities that do not need to communicate personal income through big status symbols like watch brands. Glam Rock customers wear what they like and feel confident with it, which, for us, means liking large watches, but not extreme and uncomfortable ones.
What’s the ‘next big thing’? In 1999 when I was designing watches at Philippe Starck, we had a meeting in which Philippe designed the watch of the future by drawing it directly on my wrist. It was simply 4 digital numbers …no watchcase, no strap, almost like a microchip under the skin. Then he told me “simple, light and always with you”. Looking to all the technology around us today, his idea it may all too soon become realistic.