‘Selling luxury products is better than selling tubes’

City Times cornered Phillippe Charriol for a quick chat when he was in the city to launch his new fragrance

By Mohamad Kadry

Published: Mon 28 Dec 2009, 8:58 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:22 PM

At 40, watchmaker and entrepreneur Phillippe Charriol quit his job and started his own family business. Twenty-five years later, he is at the helm of a successful brand of luxury products that includes jewellery, sunglasses, pens, leather goods and a recently launched line of fragrances. We sat down with him to get an insight into his world of luxury goods.

You visit Dubai often. What attracts you to the city?

The energy. It reminds me that there are two places like Dubai: New York and Hong Kong.

Tell us about building your watch business?

I began in Geneva, but Hong Kong is obviously the most important base for business because the city is the largest importer and exporter of watch’s in the world. Today it is the doorstep to China. I’ve invested all of my life in this company. Because we are a family brand, it is 24-7. My daughter, who lives in New York, has been involved in the business for years and is my American inspiration.

Tell us about the launch of your fragrance line?

With the launch of this fragrance, some people may say it’s terrible but others will say its fantastic; everyone has their preference. The smell is made by professionals who prepare the essences for you. When choosing a perfume in a line, you have to be intelligent and consider what buyers will enjoy above your own preference.

What is life like selling luxury products?

I’ve travelled the world hundreds of times, so it’s not a bad life. Selling luxury products is better than selling tubes, but it’s a hard business like anything and nothing comes free in this world. This is a business where you have to convince people to buy something that is more expensive than its average counterpart.

What’s next for you?

Ambition keeps you going. I have a curiosity of life. Racing cars for many years, one thing you learn when you compete is aim to always be number one. There is no number two. There are a lot of places where I am not successful, but life is like a nightclub; you don’t hit every time.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your life and career?

When I was racing cars, I ran out of petrol in the last 50 meters of a three-hour race. But you should never give up until the last second. Always fight.


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