“Whoever you speak to, whatever they do and whatever their economic standing, everyone says, ‘I don’t have enough time’. That’s why I want everyone at my company to stop working at 5.30pm, because everyone needs to have time to dedicate to themselves – time to focus on harmony, goodness, beauty and love.
In Solomeo, the old hill village where my company is based, I love to hear the church bell ringing throughout the day, especially the last chime at sunset. With that sound you are able to spend time with yourself and your thoughts. I need, as St Augustine said, to ‘order my soul’; I need time to dedicate to my soul. It is those moments that give true value to time.
I first associated the value of time with a watch when I was around 10 years old. For my first Holy Communion, I was given a watch by my father. Mind you, I didn’t wear the watch every day because I had to be very careful not to damage it. I still have it: it didn’t have a high monetary cost, but it had great value. I did not start to wear a watch more regularly until I was around 18. I had a Zenith: it was something that I could afford at that time. And then in my mid-20s I got my first steel Rolex. Forty years ago it was a dream to have one.
Then, in my 30s, I entered the fascinating world of classic Patek Philippes and Vacheron Constantins. I still wear those watches today – I find them eternal. There are shapes that are eternal: you only have to look at the Parthenon or the Colosseum.
My 27-year-old daughter agrees – she wears my Vacheron Constantin – and I purchase my watches with this in mind: I have to confess that I have two identical Vacheron Constantins. It is the same with shoes; if I find a pair I like, I will buy three identical pairs and wear them for 10 years. If you polish your shoes, provided they are good shoes, they will continue to look brand new. This is my culture: when I purchase a watch I will leave it here for eternity.
I have about 10 watches – and I constantly exchange them with my daughters. I like the idea that my daughters’ husbands also wear these very classic watches on their wrists. I find that really beautiful, and I really want my grandchildren to wear them too. They are still very young but their time will come.
We need to rediscover the importance of being a guardian for creation. I do not like it when they define man as a consumer: I like to be a user of what the land and the world have to offer but I do not want to consume it. I would like to be a guardian for everything that I purchase and that attitude shapes my decisions. Every two or three years I will have a look at a watch I like, but I always ask myself, ‘Is this still going to be beautiful in 50 years?’ It is another way of contemplating time and eternity.”