In the business of luxury watches, the most storied brand names carry a certain weight, but one name can hide another. Geneva-based company Salanitro SA has worked for more than 20 years in the shadow of the Swiss watch industry, providing its expertise in nearly every step of the watchmaking process for 40 leading brands, from design and prototype- making, to gem-setting. We sat down with the company’s founder Pierre Salanitro to discuss his company’s place in the industry.
When did you decide to start Salanitro SA?
My academic background being in commercial studies, I first started working with a bank. One day, I had lunch with a friend whose father was a diamond-setter. After lunch, we visited his workshop and I fell in love with the job. He advised me to keep my job at the bank, but to come work with him before and after office hours; that’s how I learned this beautiful job. We were a small team and I was the last one to join, and when the crisis hit, I preferred to leave as I was the only one without a family and we didn’t have enough work for the whole team. Then, I decided to launch my own workshop at home and started to contact all the watch brands in Switzerland. As that happened during the crisis, they didn’t offer me any work. So I had to work with jewelers and did some after-sales services for a few watch brands. It allowed me to improve my setting techniques and when the watch business picked up again, the first watch brand contacted me to offer me some work. I quickly grew my portfolio of brands, started to build my team and bought my first competitor, which allowed me to get my first computerized numerical control (CNC) machines. Today, we are certified twice by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and work with more than 40 leading Swiss watch brands.
What services do you offer them?
We are not only stone-setters. We’ve mastered the whole process of manufacturing cases, bracelets and dials. We are able to follow all the steps with the brands, from the design to the delivery of the final product. Our range starts from the most common bezel with round diamonds to the most unique masterpieces using the most complicated setting techniques.
Tell us about the company’s new factory.
I had the opportunity to buy more space where the headquarters and part of the production were. Before that, we had workshops in different locations because I bought several companies during the past years. This new surface allows us to have all the departments under the same roof and to improve our production process. Finally, we still have some free space for future development.
What is your goal with the business?
As the leader in our industry, our goal is to grow with the brands we are working with. We master the whole process from A to Z, and it allows us to deliver the best service. On the other hand, we employ 190 people and it’s an important responsibility. That’s the reason we’re working really hard to maintain our leading status in the industry.
Do you remember your first watch?
My first watch was a Swatch. It was a gift from my father.
Today you wear something quite different…
I consider myself a watch collector. I love to wear all the brands I’m working with. Today I’m wearing the Patek Philippe Reference 5960P, a watch that is special not only because of its rarity, but because like all of my other watches, I have a connection to it.
Photo Credit: Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official Salanitro SA website. Follow Haute Time on Instagram to catch all of the new releases as they happen.