The Rare Watch Man: Episode 1

Continuing the story of Roberto Chiappelloni, owner of Manfredi Jewels, known as one of the leading watch stores in the world…

Roberto talks about his passion for traveling and attending watch fairs. 

He says, this past January he attended one of the most premier watch fairs in the world; hosted in Geneva, Switzerland. At the end of March he also attended Baselworld.

Roberto is asked to describe these types of fairs to the average person who may have never been to one. 

He explains that it is an amazing event. He says, it is a place where all the most prestigious watch brands and many others from remote corners of the world set up shop to display some of the most prestigious, rarest and complicated watches. 

He says, press from all over the world attends to cover the event. 

Roberto shares his favorite section to visit at the fair is the small independent. He explains that he is fascinated by the one guy who has the ability and the “know-how” to introduce a watch of his making from scratch. 

He explains someone can bring just one watch to a tradeshow like this but very often they are in a group called the Academy of Watch Making. Roberto says, the academy is amazing but a very challenging world. In order for someone to make it into the academy, they must receive votes from 20 of their peers and it can be very demanding. 

He says that it is tremendously expensive to produce a watch. Roberto explains, you have to know the engineering, mechanics, manufacturing and often even astronomy. 

Roberto says to create, manufacture and design these pieces from scratch is not for everyone. 

Roberto is asked how a young person thinks they can break into the industry and compete with these already renowned and prestigious watch brands. 

He responds, that they really don’t compete with those brands but oftentimes they think enough of their ability and they are willing to risk a great job and finances to be the greatest of their time. He says, often many achieve success and often many suffer through great difficulties. 

Roberto is then asked about technology today and the world of fine watches. He is asked what he sees at these types of fairs in terms of people keeping an old-world tradition alive. 

Roberto says that “very often a little watch that will chime the hour, quarter hour, a minute on demand all with little wheels and cogs is pretty amazing. A computer can do it without very little effort but this is different.”

He says, today technology offers any time device you can dream of having, things a watch can never give you. However, throughout history men have always been fascinated by mechanical wonders. 

"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.