The number seven has always held particular significance. There are seven virtues and seven deadly sins; Rome was built on seven hills; the oil companies that dominated the industry were known as the “seven sisters”… Carrying on this well-entrenched tradition that lends seven its symbolic power, I would like to express my best wishes for 2017 in seven key words which I believe will accompany us over the coming months.
Neither science, nor knowledge, nor intelligence, wisdom is a quality as scarce and therefore as valuable as the most precious stones. Wisdom is not innate but rather acquired. Wisdom takes memory, vision and culture, as well as a sense of irony: characteristics that make all the difference. Wisdom is a hidden treasure, an advantage that sets an individual apart from artful impostors.
When we believe in an idea, we give time to the cause we defend. Sometimes, though, we use this idea to our own ends, to boost our ego. Luxury brands stick out their chests more than is necessary, forgetting La Fontaine’s fable of the frog who puffed himself up so large that he exploded. Identity is one thing, egotism is another. To look beyond the four walls of one’s brain is therapeutic but also strategic. Brands stay, managers come and go.
Trends change almost by the hour: discretion or ostentation, to eschew excess or make a show of luxury… Ostentation is an effective way to convey an identity, but shouting isn’t the best way to communicate. True communication is through dialogue.
How can we measure the success of a brand or a product? There are objective indicators, such as the number of units sold, revenue and profit. Then there are the more subtle pointers: an authority that grows day by day, relations with retailers and customers, recognition of artisanship. True success comes from a balance of all these factors. Facts speak louder than words, for as we say in Latin, verba volant.
Not to be confused with prestige, renown or celebrity. Esteem is a different notion. It is that spark of admiration in the eye, it is the desire to own an object, knowing that time will not compromise its value. It is an investment that multiplies interest exponentially. Fame is something else altogether.
Research not just into utility, albeit necessary, but scientific, technical, artistic, artisanal, existential research too. Research into a new way to do business that encourages a culture of beauty and ethics. Fine watchmaking can and must be at the forefront of this so as to give itself a new and credible identity. Research isn’t about “always more” but “he who seeks, finds”, as Leonardo da Vinci once said.
The sharing economy encourages us to share our car, our sofa, our bike. Yet this new trend takes root in the ancient need to form a community and pull together. The online world isolates us from others as we focus our attention on our personal screen. Sharing, on the other hand, grows from contact between people. We should be setting the right priorities. What could be more beautiful than a promise shared!