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Q&A: Mike Cohen of Bellagio-Europe

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Bellagio-Europe founder and designer Mike Cohen talks to WatchPro about the Paccioni Centum limited edition timepiece, which can be customised by the buyer through the Customise Your Watch system.

WatchPro: What is the concept and when did you launch it?
Mike Cohen: I have been working on the Customise Your Watch concept since 2009, when I realised people thought what I did was glamorous! I devised a way to enable our customers to customise their own watches and to become the ‘designer’ of their own masterpiece. I have been perfecting this concept for four years now and I am confident our brand Paccioni is first watch brand at a high standard to offer this service. Many companies may try and copy our concept, but I feel we are 12 steps ahead.

Back in 2005 buyers and customers were telling me my watches were far too large, they loved the designs yet we were told not their market. No matter what people said I did not listen and oversized watches is something I have been creating for many years ahead of my competitors. Now oversized watches are on every high street, so I wanted to come up with a concept that know one else was doing at this time.

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WP: How has Centum and the customise-your-own system been received?
MC:
We first showcased our Paccioni Centum in Hollywood during Oscars Week 2012 in order to gauge people’s reactions. The feedback was immense and from people I truly respect in their industries.

I also sat with customers and friends I trust and I invited them to customise their own masterpiece. To see the reaction from the person designing their own watch is fantastic. Some people can make the decision within 30 minutes, others can take up to two weeks, maybe longer. However, even once you have designed your own watch,

if your’re not happy with the spec when you receive it, we will change the spec until the client is 100% satisfied. Even if our client has been wearing their watch for a few months and they wish to make any changes, we make all of this possible.

The Paccioni Centum is a limited edition of 100 units world wide. Once you customise your own masterpiece it becomes a limited editor of one. Each Paccioni customised collection will be limited from 100 – 250 units per style.

WP: Where are the watches made?
MC:
With our Paccioni customised collections, including the new Centum we assemble in the UK, we do not make false claims or pretend to be someone were not. We use expert watch technicians and makers who work on Breitling, Rolex, Patek and so on.

I feel very honoured to work with such skilled people, who on a daily basis are working with such prestigious brands. To find a team with such knowledge and care to work on our Paccioni collections is fantastic. We generally sell our watches to collectors who are looking for something unique in design.

We sell our watches for what they are, we have our cases, straps, dials, buckles, hands made in a extremely high quality factories in China.

All our Paccioni watches only have genuine Swiss-made movements and the customised collections are assembled in the UK.

WP: What are your future plans?
MC:
After almost four years of developing and perfecting our Paccioni customised

collections, we are hoping to partner with a select group of retailers in the UK, Europe and parts of the US, who can offer our concept on the high street. Retailers will benefit from the systems and the technology we have developed to make this possible.

The collections we have planned for 2014/15 are so cool, and pretty advanced for customisation – all I will say is it’s swinging!

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