Philippe Charriol: “L’ART DE VIVRE LA DIFFERENCE”
When Philippe Charriol decided to make a lifestyle change at age 40, even he didn’t dream how far his vision would take him. This renaissance man joined Les Must de Cartier in 1973, and within a short time ascended to the position of President of the brand in the Asian and North American subsidies for 13 years.
What he sought to do was create a brand of his own, producing luxury products targeted to an audience much like himself--sophisticated, quality-conscious, sporty. Based on his appreciation of antiquity, Mr. Charriol developed first a line of watches, then jewelry, and eventually an entire product line inspired by the twisted cable designs of the ancient Celts, and named it CHARRIOL.
But rather than simply copying the ancient look, the designer gave the classic a modern twist. He replaced the precious metal with stainless steel cable, and enhanced the grey metal with the warmth of 18k yellow gold. As he explains it, “I work like an alchemist to create my special style.” The result is a sporty, wearable look that is equally appropriate for both men and women with any clothing style and for any wearing occasion.
Once the product was established, distribution followed. Truly earning his reputation as an international visionary, Philippe Charriol established his first boutique in Hong Kong in 1989. “A major portion of the world’s wealth is concentrated in Asia,” he explains. “I have a very good understanding of that part of the world because I worked and lived there for more than 20 years.
Other boutiques followed with designs, product mix and advertising all overseen by Mr. Philippe Charriol. CHARRIOL “Corners” in upscale jewelry shops brought the brand to an increasing international market. In just over two decades, a worldwide network of 600 CHARRIOL Corners and 42 boutiques have sprung up - and are growing by the minute!
The product line has grown as well, beginning with watches for men and women, and expanding to fine jewelry, leather goods and eyewear.
Beyond the quality and design of the products, it all comes together because of the consistency and identifiable look that are evident in all of the boutiques, packaging and advertising bearing the CHARRIOL name.
What’s next for this energetic entrepreneur, who remains consumed with energy and enthusiasm? “I’m always working on challenging projects,” Mr. Charriol says. “At this point, I prefer to enlarge existing categories rather than launching new ones.”
Perhaps less known, but equally noteworthy to a profile of the man, is the philanthropic side of this citizen of the world. Soon after he launched his own brand, Philippe Charriol set up the CHARRIOL Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping budding young artists. To select the best candidates, CHARRIOL sponsors a design competition in which the grand prize is a scholarship to study in Paris. At the present time, these foundations are established in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. How does Mr. Charriol want people to think of him? “On the business side, as a young brand which has to grow into a large and powerful brand.”
And on the personal side? His philosophy of “L’art de vivre la difference,” or “the art of living the difference,” sums it up. As he says in his cultivated French accent, “I would like to be looked at as creative, energetic and sporty.” Terms that perfectly define the man, his company and his designs.