The Rare Watch Man: Episode 1

Continuing with the story of Roberto Chiappelloni, owner of Manfredi Jewels in Greenwich and New Canaan CT…

Roberto is asked, where in the world do these magnificent watches come from? 

He responds that many of the most precious and most renowned come from Switzerland. As mechanical watches started to appear and become more available to the worldwide wealthy and passionate, farmers in the mountains of Switzerland were commissioned to the jewelry industry. During the months of snow, farmers were then trained by some of the great minds in the city of Geneva to make watches. 

Roberto says the intricacy it takes to make a rare watch is something you nurture and develop. He says, "patience is a virtue that is necessary to not only make these tiny little things that make the watch tick."

Roberto says, one of the brands they represent, Vacheron Constantin, started in Geneva about 260 years ago. The company still makes watches that are the rarest and most prestigious in the world.

The low-end cost of the watch brand is about $15,000 and the high-end is astronomical, says Roberto. 

Roberto goes on to explain that just last year a custom watch was made by them called "The Most Complicated Pocket Watch Ever Made." He says, it was sold in our area for an estimated price of $7 million. 

The watch not only has the perpetual Gregorian calendar, Roberto says, it knows the faces of the moon, it knows to adjust without any tinkering for leap year and it even includes the Jewish calendar. 

Roberto is asked, "Is there a certain personality that each one of these rare watch brands attracts?"

He says, "someone who likes very classic design and who likes the historic nature of such a company, loves the ability to have something done exactly to specification." 

Roberto is asked, does a watch like Vacheron Constantin go up in value? Are they a good investment? 

Roberto says that he hates to call these amazing time pieces “investments.” He responds, "I'm not in the investment business and to predict the future is not part of my ability." But he says, yes, they've seen many of the watches go up to astronomical prices, very often after a long time in the future when they become very rare and unique.

Roberto says, most people buy a beautiful timepiece like this to commemorate something. 

He mentions, another great brand is Audemars Piguet, started by two individuals. 

Roberto is then asked, why do watch people need partners? 

He says, some financial help, some talent help. He jokes, "two brains are better than one." 

But he mentions that some do it alone. Roberto says, Breguet was an historic and many of his inventions are in 70 percent of the watches today. He made watches for people like Maria Antoinette. He Started in Paris, France and then developed his brand is Switzerland. 

Manfredi Jewels represents 33 different brands and Roberto says he is very fortunate that among the brands he represents are the three he mentions. 

Roberto says, he has gone after many small companies and new inventors, geniuses of today's time but those three brands he mentions are very important for him in terms of the historic value of the industry. 

Roberto is praised for being very open and kind to embrace new brands on the block. Roberto is told, "the word on the street is when [new brands] get into Roberto's Manfredi Jewels in Greenwich, CT they have made it. That's the sign that they are worthy to be amongst them."

Continue listening for more on the story of Roberto and Manfredi Jewels… Tune in next time to learn of the top historic watch brands.

"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.