Amid the city lights of Shanghai, Swiss watchmaker Oris unveils its Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 to a regional cohort of journalists. Attending the launch is co-CEO Rolf Studer, who speaks to Petrina Fernandez about the early sparks of his love for craftsmanship and how the down-to-earth ‘family values’ of Oris translate into the new notion of luxury.
To young Rolf Studer, his grandfather’s shipyard by the lake of Lucerne was the most magical place in the world. It was not the quintessential Swiss tableau of crisp blue sky, glassy lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains that fascinated Studer. Instead, it was a dusty workshop by the lake’s edge from which the faint sound of hammering broke the silence.
“In the old days, my grandfather lived above the workshop in his shipyard. My mother grew up there. I used to visit as a boy and I still remember how the sunlight came in through the dusty windows, the smell of the mahogany and lacquer — 12 layers applied to each boat. It was very atmospheric. I fell in love,” says Studer, leaning forward in his seat.
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