European Business: Mr. D’Amore, since 2016, CODE41 has insisted on being completely transparent in everything from its production methods to price setting. This has rocked the boat with other manufacturers. To what extent are you the “black sheep” of the industry?
Claudio D’Amore: Today, the fact that we explain each step in the value creation process is seen as unusual verging on revolutionary. But it should go without saying: In private relationships, honesty is the foundation upon which family relations and friendships are built, while in business there is often a “marketing wall” between the brand and the consumer. We are tearing this wall down and bringing more transparency into the sector.
European Business: Tag Heuer and Montblanc are just two of the big names adorning your CV. What made you decide to strike out on your own?
Claudio D’Amore: I am a designer and I love to create attractive, beautiful products. But what I love even more is building brands and telling the story behind the product. CODE41 is a dream come true for me. It allows me to realize my vision for the watchmaking industry as well as my own ideas of how the relationship between the brand and the customer should look in the future.
European Business: A driving force behind CODE41 is the community. Was it clear to you from the start that the community of watch enthusiasts would play such a key role?
Claudio D’Amore: Yes, the idea to build CODE41 around a community was clear from the beginning. As a consumer, I always did my research before buying anything so that I could understand what was behind the brand and its products. I thought I couldn’t be the only one doing that.
European Business: You are making high-end watchmaking accessible to a lot of people. Critics are keen to point out how that devalues the top end of the market. How do you counter this criticism?
Claudio D’Amore: People are frightened of change. Luxury is often linked to subjective values such as high social status or exclusivity, but we have decided to put the focus on objective values such as high quality and “savoir-faire”. At the end of the day, broadening access to haute horology opens up a lot of exciting possibilities for us in the future.
European Business: Let us take a broader look to finish: What does time mean to you personally?
Claudio D’Amore: Time is a wonderful thing, but we must take care not to let it rule us. The true challenge is valuing the present.
Interview: Markus Büssecker | Pictures: CODE 41