Vanessa Monestel joined Laurent Ferrier, a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer, in August 2013. She was hired as development manager and was promoted to CEO a year later. MOJEH.com caught up with Monestel to find out what it's like to succeed in a male-dominated industry and what Laurent Ferrier’s Middle Eastern clientele really want when it comes to luxury timepieces.
What has been your career highlight for 2018?
The highlight so far has been the launch of two new calibres in SIHH and Baselworld, which we believe to be a great achievement for a niche brand as young as ours and without the heavyweight resources that the older and more established watchmakers have developed over time.
What would you say are the positives, and challenges, of being a woman leader in a male-dominated industry?
It is still not unusual to be in the minority as a female leader within an organisation, but I think that the tides are turning and times are changing. On the one hand, it can still be challenging to take on a leadership role in a male dominated industry, but it also presents great opportunities too. In my role I have found that there are no real boundaries to my success and the majority of stakeholders are more focused on working alongside a capable and trustworthy colleague regardless of their gender.
Tell us about Laurent Ferrier’s Middle Eastern clientele. How does it differ to other regions?
Our customers are either collectors of modern or vintage watches or they have a penchant for the finest things in life, or they can be real watch aficionados or what some people might call watchmaking “geeks”. All of these types of watch enthusiasts are present in the Middle East. Tastes may vary from one region to another, but the communality is that all customers are extremely demanding in their quest for distinction and something special, and this is what leads us to strive for excellence every day. We are thankful for that.
What do you hope to achieve during your visit to Dubai?
I always enjoy visiting Dubai and am focused on my role to continue raising awareness of the Laurent Ferrier brand amongst passionate people in this part of the region.
How do you strike a balance between the traditional and the modern when leading an organisation with so much rich history?
Laurent Ferrier is of course deeply grounded in the watchmaking tradition, but the workshop itself has a short history as it is only eight years old. This means that we are established but can benefit from being modern and dynamic, not only to improve our calibres but also when it comes to our marketing and sales efforts, and so on.