The Rare Watch Man: Episode 1

Continuing the story of Manfredi Jewels owner, Roberto Chiappelloni, with the theme of timing…

Roberto is asked, after having settled into his new store on Greenwich Avenue, what happened next for Manfredi? How did he decide what the store would look like?

Roberto credits the design of his store to the influence of his friend Giulio Manfredi, whom he describes not only as a talented jewelry designer, but one who had a great sense of style and elegance. 

Roberto then reflects on the interior of his original store, describing it as little but fabulous. He explains how free standing kiosks displayed his watches and jewelry at high level, allowing the luxury items to be visible from three different sides. 

Today, Manfredi Jewels occupies a much bigger space. Roberto explains how he was able to expand his store after a neighboring store, offering tuxedo rentals and custom gowns, closed shop. Roberto says it was perfect timing. It was the end of 2007 and the economy was booming. He says he jumped at the opportunity. 

Roberto is asked, how much does timing matter in the life of an entrepreneur?He responds, “the glass is always half full.” As business people, he explains, “you ride those waves with exuberance and courage based on a lot of fundamentals.”

Roberto then goes on to explain the current display in his store. Described as a futuristic salon, Roberto recalls that in either 2008 or 2009 his store was voted one of the best retail stores in the country. 

He continues by explaining that he carries over 35 to 40 of the most prestigious brands in the world. “From the rarest little guy that makes 10-20 watches a year to the iconic and oldest watch companies in the world.” 

Roberto says he had to build his store display in a way that nobody would feel slighted or left out. He jokes, “It’s worse than sitting relatives at the wedding.”

Roberto is then asked how his business responded to the recession in 2008. 

He says, “if we think about it you can say we sell stuff nobody needs...” However, he goes on to say that his customers are always purchasing for a celebratory reason. 

Even in times where it seems “the world is coming to an end,” he explains, there is always something to be done. He says, maybe the price point changes and rather than purchasing a new ring, customers will come in and remodel an old heirloom. But even in these times there is always something to be celebrated and remembered. 

Roberto references his childhood on the farm, explaining “you don’t always have a great harvest.”

Roberto’s advice to business people… Be realistic about what you do, what you sell and where you are. He says, it’s important to be your own worst critic. He goes on to say, most of all you have to believe in yourself and pay attention to your clients. Roberto stresses that if you listen to them, they will tell you what their needs are and how important you are. 

Roberto recalls that it was the end of 2009 that his business picked up again. He says that the luxury world had the fortune of being bailed out by other economies; as he has clients all over the world. 

Continue listening for more on the story of Roberto and Manfredi Jewels…

Next Week: Learn of the brands and prices of watches carried in Manfredi Jewels and the type of people who collect and own them. What do certain watch brands tell of a person’s personality and character?

"If you do something you have passion for, life is easy." - Roberto Chiappelloni

Visit Roberto's restaurant, Alberto, open only at night, at 98-31 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375. Visit his jewelry store, Manfredi Jewels, at 121 Greenwich Ave, Greenwich, CT 06830.