‘WhoAreU’ interview: CEO of de Bethune, Pierre Jacques

Temps de lecture : 4 minutes

My name is Amandine, I am 11 years old. I am keen on watchmaking and, since the age of 7, when asked what job I want to do, I answer “watchmaker-designer at Bulgari”. In the meantime, I do interviews with people involved in the industry.

By Amandine, the youngest Swiss Watch Passport columnist
Portrait Amandine | Insta SWP | Insta JSH® | Insta Amandine | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Pierre Jacques, an old friend of your daddy’s. We met a long time ago… wow!
We were young. He was already a bit older… but we must have been about 25 years old. In fact, I was first a friend of your aunt Florence. Then we worked together for a while and now I’m the boss of a brand called De Bethune.

Who are you in the office?

I’m the CEO (which means Chief Executive Officer). Basically, it’ s the one who doesn’t do much! He’s like the orchestra conductor. He tries to get his team to play the right music. In fact, he arrives at the office late, he leaves before everyone else… even if he pretends to work very very late, which is not always true.

And in real life?

In real life, I’m a lot funnier than at work, that’s for sure. I make my wife laugh, especially at the beginning. Now I make my children laugh a lot and also my friends because I always tell a couple of dumb jokes.

How did you get into the watch industry?

By chance, in fact. I came in through the back door. By the very small door! I started by selling advertising and editing magazines. Then I worked with and managed the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix for two years, I worked with your father for a little while in the same company, then I managed a very famous multi-brand boutique called Les Ambassadeurs. And finally, I came here to manage the most beautiful brand of fine watchmaking called De Bethune. You could say it’s the biggest of the small brands or the smallest of the big brands.

Remembering your first watch?

I must have been your age. Probably even younger than you and I remember it was a watch called Kelton. It was a quartz Kelton. At that time, it was trendy to own quartz watches. It was brand new.

La première montre de Pierre Jacques, une Kelton à quartz. Ci-dessus, une ancienne publicité de la marque

And which watch has the most sentimental value for you today?

THE watch? Actually, it’s pretty much every De Bethune because when you put your heart into developing a brand, it’s a bit like feeding your children, you love them all the same. So I love all our timepieces in the same way.

Do you manufacture watches for young people?

Well… of course! In fact, we don’t make them for young or old people, we make them for everyone. Because for me a watch is neither for a woman nor for a man… Our watches are unisex and intergenerational. You see, it’s a bit like you wearing a Swatch watch that fits you very well. You’re very young, but it would look just as good on daddy, who’s a little less young. There are no watches for young and old. You just have to have good taste and like what you wear, according to your personal taste.

What would you say to a young person under the age of 15 to get him or her interested in mechanical watchmaking rather than an Apple Watch?

I would like to tell him that at his age, for example, he can already ride a bike but not yet a motorbike or even an electric bike. And the bike is something completely mechanical. Mechanics are nice, they’re more fun. So first you should be interested in mechanics and then you can get interested in electronics later. At your age, you don’t need to know how many beats your heart makes every minute. But hearing the ticking of a nice mechanical watch is much nicer.

And what are the assets of your brand to seduce him/her?

Because our brand is like no other. It is different. In terms of design, a De Bethune looks like a De Bethune. We don’t try to make a dial to please. We make a dial that we like first, based on our own emotions… and then we hope to share that with our collectors.

There is a lot of discussion about sustainability, what does that mean to you?

It’s a great debate… For us, it means doing things as well as possible while respecting the environment we’re going to leave to the next generation, without making too many quantities either. De Bethune’s philosophy can be summed up by saying that ‘less is more’. Favouring quality over quantity.

Are you more TikTok, Instagram or LinkedIn?

Not LinkedIn. TikTok is rather for you… I would say I’m from the Instagram generation.

Profil instagram de Pierre Jacques

What tips would you give me to be able to pursue my passion and work in watchmaking?

Well, it’s just to keep doing what you’re doing. You see, you are 11 years old and you are already a budding journalist. Well, more than a budding one, because your interview is well constructed and your questions are relevant, so keep it up and you’ll be able to live your passion.

Could we get a selfie for my album?

Sure 😊

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