davide cerrato

“Taste is a universal language”: Davide Cerrato of Montblanc Watches

The managing director of Montblanc Watches tells us why a great watch has universal appeal and why we should all strive for imperfection

Davide Cerrato has been entranced by timepieces ever since he was a child. An unusual combination of creative and business-minded, he was perhaps the perfect man to head up Montblanc’s new-ish watch division when he joined in 2015, following stints in advertising and a successful tenure at Tudor. Here, Davide tells us why we should strive for imperfection, how he lost his favourite-ever watch — and the importance of finding a ‘hero’ product.

I am a child of the 1970s, so my first watch was a dark blue plastic LED Casio — it looked like something out of Star Wars. When my father taught me how to read ontological time, it was really an epiphany for me. I still remember that moment like the moment I learnt a new language and gained access to a new world.

“Taste is a universal language. If something is well built and in proportion, then anyone is able to spot it.”

I had the pleasure of receiving watches from my father and grandfather, so I began to get into vintage watches quite early. There was a very special one which was a Universal Genève Chronograph, which unfortunately I only wore a few times before it was stolen when I was on a summer holiday. I’ve been looking for it ever since — in some way, I think it still influences my designs. It’s as if I am trying to rebuild it using my memory.

I had brilliant experiences working with The Ferrero Group, as well as advertising with consumer electronics and cars — all before coming to the world of watches. I was involved in the strategy and planning, but I am really a creative at heart! My right and left brain are equal, and the effect is that I can do creative and analytical work. My very first job in watches was then with Panerai, a fantastic, one-of-a-kind Italian brand.

A fundamental step in building up a good relationship with clients, and being on the radar for watch-lovers and connoisseurs, is having a hero product. People need to have a product that they associate with the brand — especially with a maison like Montblanc, where we have all sorts of categories of items. We now have a clear winner, which is the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition, a vintage world timer displaying all the time zones across the world but is very clear to read.

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