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
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