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WATCH EXPERT Julien Tornare

Julien Tornare

- What is the philosophy of Zenith brand?

- Our motto is extremely simple – «It’s time to reach your star». It is about pushing limits, boundaries and support people who are going forward the dream. We want to help people make their dreams come true.

- You were invited to the post of President of Zenith by Jean-Claude Biver, head of watchmaking at the LVMH. You said you learned a lot from him. What is the most valuable piece of advice he gave you?

- Jean-Claude is great person. And he has done so many amazing things. When I received an offer to work with him, I agreed without hesitation. I learned so many things. But one of the most important lessons is: If you have some doubts, especially when you believed that you reached something, continue to go on. He always says: “When you climb up the mountain, when you reached the summit, continue climbing”. I try to reply it myself every day.

- When you started your way in Zenith in 2017, you said that Zenith is a unique product for the responsible price. Has this mantra changed in 4 years and how did the buyer perceive it?

- No, it hasn’t changed because Zenith is a luxury brand. It is also very authentic brand. When people ask me about buying the watch brands, I always say them: “If you like the product, you should buy it. But check what is behind the brand.” Only Zenith movements are used for Zenith watches. This is the truth guarantee that you are buying something worth the value. We also try to have position our watches in the right price segment. Not to go too crazy and push too far. Because I think it is a question of respect towards our clients.

- Calling the brand “magic, but sleeping” you started actively bring limited collections to the market. Which of them turned out to be the most successful? How did the strategy justify itself, and finally, did the brand awake from the sleep?

- The brand woke up a long time ago, and we immediately saw a very good result. We did production of Defy collection in 2017. I know how much effort we put in. This year we are having an unbelievable result for the brand, although last year was difficult for everyone.

- Can it be right that Zenith focused on the men’s watches models and do you have any plans to expend the women’s watch line?

- Yes. But we don’t classify watches into male and female models. Comparison with cars is perfect for example. Perhaps 30-40 years ago, when I was a child, people would say: "This car is for women and this car is for men". Today we say: “This is the watch for you and this one for me”. We don’t mean men or women. I think you can make any kind of nice watches, some of them will have a little feminine touch but they can be worn by both genders. We have a balance of 20-25% of client being women and 75-80% men.

- You realized new Pantone collection. What inspired you to create this model? This is very unexpected and bold decision for Zenith.

- Felipe Pantone contacted us and offered a partnership. He is a big fan of watches. He visited our manufacture, discovered the Zenith brand and became a friend for us. He told me his story and I understood that he fits perfectly into the brand and has a passion for watches. So, we decided to make a collaboration. It was an incredible success for the brand. By the way, this model was sold out in a few hours.

- Could you tell us more about the idea of ​​creating the new Zenith Chronomaster Sport, what other novelties await us for the El Primero 3600 caliber?

- Zenith has a great history but continues to build the future. And for us it is very important to come back with sporty and casual approach of the Chronomaster line. That’s why we came with this beautiful piece. Three months ago, in January we presented this watch, which is basically the heritage of 3 historical watches that we had in 60s, 70s, 80s. We combine these elements of design to launch this incredible model. Since we continue to evolve, we made the El Primero caliber 400 evolve into caliber 3600 which includes the one tenth of the second.

- “Time to reach your star” is probably how you define the philosophy of Zenith's contemporary collections. Hence the question: when brand choosing ambassadors or famous personalities for collaborations, how do you decide who has already reached their star and who has not?

- It's about our perception. Someone will say: "I have reached my star". But what I like is the way of thinking and perceiving the process. When you have a dream, you work very hard to reach your star - it's inspiring! This is Zenith's mission. You only have one life and you never know when your time is up. Therefore, we must make sure that we are using the time correctly. We can go to our goal in different ways, but we are all trying to make our dream come true. We want to inspire people. This is Zenith's philosophy. When choosing a brand ambassador, I try to understand their vision of the world. I am not interested in the strategy of inviting top celebrities, this has been done hundreds of times. People are not naive and understand that this is just an advertising partnership. I want people to feel the connection between the brand and the ambassador.

- What is your own star that you strive to touch and how close are you already to it?

- I have a few, but I can say that there is definitely one star that is associated with Zenith. Zenith should be in the top 10 watch brands in the world. Our journey has been a long one, our history is fantastic, our products are incredible. We need more people to get to know the brand. And I think that we are close to our goal, I see the results of this year. Although the time of the pandemic was very difficult and some restrictions remain to this day. Now everything is going well. I am sure that we are on the right track.

- If you are talking about difficult pandemic time, did you support your employees during the pandemic? Did you help them in any way?

- It is very important to be part of the team. I was forced to make a difficult decision and close production for 6 weeks. We managed to stay in touch. Gradually, we resumed activities, more people began to come to production, but all administrative workers had to work from home. We have taken every precaution to keep people safe. It was a very difficult time.

- Do you do a charity work? Do you think that it is responsibility of every person?

- I think it is a question of brand values. We’ve been supporting local charity social for quite a few years, helping kids who have cancer. We put a lot of focus on it. We also support the Pink Ribbon campaign to fight breast cancer. Now we are more and more involved in environmental topics such as partnerships with the Extreme E sign - this is extreme off-road car racing in electric cars, we want people to be aware of the climate problems in these regions. So, we have more and more charity projects and I think it is a brand’s responsibility and all brands should do that in some way.