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Audacity and arrogance
Point of View

Audacity and arrogance

Friday, 27 August 2010
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Franco Cologni
President of the FHH Cultural Council

“Talent demands effort, dedication and hours spent perfecting a gesture which, day by day, becomes a gift.”

An entrepreneur at heart, though a man of letters, Franco Cologni was quick to embark on a business career that would lead him to key roles within the Richemont Group.

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Audentes fortuna juvat, fortune favours the bold, we are told. Machiavelli, however, observed that fortune exerts its power where virtue is unable to resist. If we are to be audacious, better then that we affront adversity and engineer our conquests with the “virtue” of strength of character, steeped in sagacity, prudence, culture, honesty, morality and clairvoyance.

All these qualities are already entrenched in fine watchmaking. Thanks to them, our masters and entrepreneurs have developed movements, forms, materials and concepts which would have been unthinkable even in a recent past. Yet all too often audacity comes with that other trait of character: arrogance.

Prior to the financial crisis that swept the planet, too many brands adopted an attitude of hardened arrogance not only towards the markets and their competitors but also, and more regrettably, towards their customers. They bore the full brunt of their error when the growth of recent years gave way to brutal recession. The truly audacious rode out the storm, building on their conquests, analysing their mistakes to better progress, bolstered by their identity and savoir-faire. The arrogant, meanwhile, are still wondering how power, luck and money slipped through their fingers.

Possibly they set too great store in their own “virtue”? Of the kind left in tatters when the winds of fortune change.

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