Ladies First

Bul­gari CEO Jean-christophe Babin has his eyes set on women this year as he brings the com­pany closer to join­ing watch­mak­ing’s top 10, writes Em­i­lie Yabut-ra­zon

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

ean-christophe babin greets us warmly as we step into Bul­gari’s pri­vate show­room, part of the sprawl­ing 250-square-me­tre flag­ship store the com­pany just opened on one of Hong Kong’s busiest shop­ping strips, Can­ton Road in Kowloon. The new bou­tique has an im­pos­ing 150sqm fa­cade and boasts plush in­te­ri­ors de­signed by US ar­chi­tect Peter Marino, who was com­mis­sioned to re­fur­bish Bul­gari’s his­toric flag­ship store on Rome’s Via Con­dotti last year to cel­e­brate the brand’s 130th an­niver­sary. The aim was to give clients the feel­ing that they’re en­ter­ing an an­cient Ital­ian palazzo.

Babin is on a whirl­wind sched­ule to­day that in­cludes sta­tus meet­ings, a rib­bon­cut­ting cer­e­mony with celebrity am­bas­sadors Shu Qi and Luke Evans, and a VIP din­ner, but he is able to re­tain a re­laxed com­po­sure, prob­a­bly due to his more than two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence head­ing up com­pa­nies, the past two years at Bul­gari and the pre­vi­ous 12 at Tag Heuer. Since 2013, Babin has seen Bul­gari through launches of an all-new women’s col­lec­tion, Lucea, and a new move­ment in the Octo Finis­simo.

Born in France into a fam­ily of lawyers, Babin, who speaks English, Ger­man, French and Ital­ian, com­pleted his MBA be­fore serv­ing as a flag lieu­tenant in the French navy. He spent the first part of his post-mil­i­tary ca­reer at Proc­ter & Gam­ble and the Bos­ton Con­sult­ing Group, work­ing be­tween Paris and Mi­lan, be­fore join­ing the watch­mak­ing world in 2000.

Babin up­dates Hong Kong Tatler on the de­vel­op­ments planned for Bul­gari’s watch­mak­ing arm and on the goals the brand has set to con­tinue its growth. Brand am­bas­sador Shu Qi

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