Good luck. It won’t happen again.
Do you have F.P. Journe’s Elegante?
What do you think of it?
So that was considered the entry-level Journe. And a quartz watch with this incredible idea that you’ll never change the battery in your life. My wife has one, too, it’s her favorite watch.
[Brice Le Troadec, Grand Seiko’s US president, comes over to introduce himself.]
O’Leary: I love what I saw there. I have to have the pink. That is going to be a very popular piece. I have no dial like that.
Brice Le Troadec: And you know, the fun thing is, when we launched this project, the Barbie movie was not out. I don’t want people to associate our watch with Barbie.
O’Leary: I don’t think you’re going to get caught up in that because you’re also taking on this trend of the 36 millimeter. When they did that with the puzzle-dial Rolex, it’s hot as hell.
Le Troadec: The brand was always really about small sizing, like 37 to 39 millimeters. That’s where our core collectors love the brands. We are on trend now.
O’Leary: When’s the pink going to be in America?
Le Troadec: December. You’ll be the first. No worries. [Le Troadec leaves.]
O’Leary: Let’s stay with the Elegante for a second, because you know the problem? So the problem is Journe now, and I consider it a problem—I get beat up by everybody to get a Journe. And there is no getting a Journe. He’s making 920 watches this year. His problem is his collectors want the watches. I’ve been waiting for years for my Vertical Tourbillon. It’s coming in two months. It will be a one-of-a-kind, and the 12 will have a Red “K.” which I think is great. He understands the collector’s mentality. The one-of-a-kinds for me are everything now. So, that’s going to be a hell of a watch.
This story is the essence of Journe. I met him and said to him, “F.P., the demand for the Elegante—your entry level—is 20, 30, 40,000 pieces. It’s insane. If you could sell that watch for seven to 15 grand, which is what you envisioned in the beginning when you brought it out, it’s a quartz movement. Go put it out to bid by any of the guys that could produce it and make the movement and put out 15, 20,000 as your entry-level brand. And he looked at me and he went, “No.” That was it.