Design Miami/ recently awarded SHoP Architects with its Visionary Award, sponsored by Officine Panerai. Just after the award ceremony, SHoP Architects and Panerai unveiled an original installation in Panerai’s Miami District boutique. Revolution USA’s Jay Gullers caught up with Bonati to talk watches and more.

This is the second year Panerai is here in Miami for Design Miami/. What is different this year?

AB: It is totally different in my opinion because they have upgraded the exhibition a lot, in terms of organization, showing and the quality of the participants.

How is business?

AB: Business is good. Despite the fact that the watch industry doesn’t see increases in the double digits now. At Panerai, we are doing very well because the brand is strong and we didn’t just work with China, so now we are having growth. We continue to propose new products through our boutiques.

What do you think we can expect from 2017?

AB: I think we are seeing the end of the problems. Next year we will present new product and new solutions at the SIHH like new materials, new metals and new cases. I’m sure that we will have great success for the future and establish new things, while keeping the same philosophy.

You mentioned not being too heavily invested in China?

AB: We invested in China but we invested slowly. Not like some other brands that wanted to find the Eldorado. We tried to get awareness in other countries. We have invested in distribution and we have also invested in boutiques, as well as in the brand inside mainland China. Until now, the business was to catch the tourist coming to Europe and coming the United States. I wanted to reach the Chinese buyers inside China.

Panerai has seen some amazing changes over the last 10 years. Can we expect more dynamic changes for the brand?

AB: I think yes, because our goal is not just to create the movement. Our goal is to make watches that others cannot make – to create watches in new materials and with new solutions; to make watches that mark the difference to others. That is luxury, to be different. It is not just the price, but what you are able to express compared to the others.

How important is the US market to Panerai on the global stage?

AB: The US market is a very difficult market. It looks like it should be easy but it’s not, though it is one of the richest countries in the world. You need to create awareness. Panerai is well placed in the United States. We are doing well in the US and we need to be present in the social tissue.

What kind of difference do you see in terms of sales when comparing Miami to New York and Los Angeles?

AB: We are seeing different clienteles. In Florida, we are seeing Latinos, people coming from Brazil and we have the people coming from Europe as well. Young people come here to enjoy Miami. New York is different. It is more international than Florida and Miami, perhaps a bit more intellectual. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s my feeling.

So, with SIHH just around the corner, what can we expect from Panerai?

AB: A lot of secrets that I can’t reveal here now (big smile). I will tell you that you can expect something exceptional, really. Something that will represent the future of the brand – it is not linked to the dial…but you will have to wait.

Out of all the watches from Panerai if you have to pick one that you can wear seven days a week – which would you pick?

AB: I would buy every watch to not have that problem! I wear different watches to test them and to understand them. The watches must be strong. We don’t produce watches to be put in the safe – they should be on the wrist. People wearing our watches, that’s the best advertising we can have.

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