The Swiss watch industry would be well served by looking outside its citadel for inspiration and instruction from other industries and other parts of the world.
Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias said as much last month when he told WatchBox Studios: “Maybe the future is not looking to hire people that have been working in our industry for the past 10-20 years, but to look completely outside towards the world of hospitality. The next people we hire might come from the hotel or restaurant industry; we will see.”
Rival watchmaker Hublot has jumped on the same idea by teaming up with Paul Pairet, a legendary French chef currently running Michelin-star restaurants in China.
Mr Pairet has won numerous awards in the global gastronomy world for his highly personal and original cuisine based on rejecting rigid culinary convention and creating unique and sophisticated culinary artworks and experiences.
“Hublot shares lots of values with chef Paul Pairet. From his distinctive and unique interpretation of ingredients to his daring challenge to the traditional gastronomic experience, Paul’s passion and dedication to the culinary art fully express the watchmaking spirit that Hublot has always adhered to. Feeling Paul’s extraordinary influence on and great contribution to the global gastronomy industry, we are delighted to welcome him to the Hublot family and look forward to creating unique pioneering artworks with him,” says Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe.
It is unclear how much influence Mr Pairet will have on Hublot’s watchmaking, but he appears aligned with its mission. “Cooking food is a process of balancing different kinds of ingredients, while making good dishes not only needs to pay attention to the combination of ingredients but also integrates the highly innovative ideas of chefs so as to reflect their own thoughts and aesthetics in the food. This is a process of artistic expression, which echoes the ‘Art of Fusion’ spirit of Hublot. It can be said that there is a tacit understanding between me and Hublot, thus I feel lucky to join the Hublot family,” he says.