Siblings Dario and Alessia Spallone, along with friends Mattia Bodini and Alessandro Pedersoli founded D1 Milano watch brand on the basis that a watch is a social status, shared between both men and women, of technical value. Dario, the CEO, agreed to an interview with Polo Lifestyles.
Polo Lifestyles (PL): What is the role of a CEO in brand development?
Dario Spallone (DS): The CEO’s role is to bring vision to the table and to translate the vision to the team. I don’t consider myself to be an expert at everything. The brand will be successful and reach where it is meant to be only if you employ the right resources. The CEO’s role is to create the right balance and coherence amongst the team for smooth functioning.
PL: From where do you draw your inspiration and ideas?
DS: I draw my inspiration mainly from the people I work with. I have a vision that I share with my team who then execute and bring the vision to life. The process of an idea converting to reality is a thoroughly inspiring one. I am also constantly inspired by other successful business leaders. I reading autobiographies – they’re a great source to learn about people, experiences, successes and failures.
PL: Which product or watch would you like to see get a makeover?
DS: The D1 brand recently went through a brand restructure and we are currently very happy with what we have on offer. Having said that, we do keep inventing different versions of existing models subject to demand. For instance we would recreate a model which would be slightly smaller in size to cater to our female customers. “Makeover” is not a consistent part of our brand ideology but we are always listening to our customers and their needs and incorporate that into our designs.
PL: Are there any current trends you do like or don’t like?
DS: I am not a huge fan of Scandinavian English watch designs. Many of the iconic watches were born in the Italian market in the 70s. I take a lot of inspiration from this era, which I consider the golden era for watch design in D1 Milano pieces.
PL: What is the process for creating a new watch?
DS: It is the vision first, which translates into various design ideas. The team then all pitches in and gives input to produce the best possible version.
PL: Who is the designer behind D1 Milano?
DS: D1 Milano’s head designer is Alessandro. Our team is constructed in a way where in each individual is responsible for their departments and take respective strategic decisions for their allotted sectors. Alessandro works with a design team of two junior designers based in UAE, along with a complete team in Hong Kong to supervise development and execution of each design from start to finish. Our team works in cohesion with one another for the creation of any product under D1 Milano. Every person on the team is an expert in their respective sector and we pool the expertise of each member for the creation of our time pieces.
PL: And what is the typical lead time on a new design?
DS: It typically takes up to six months for a design to come to life, from the vision phase to inception to launch, however certain models can take longer, nearly a year.
PL: Where do you see D1 Milano in five years?
DS: At present we are still very focused around developing from a niche to global brand, this will take some time because consistency in execution is the only recipe for a stable and growing project. At present, our watches are available in 500 points of sales and seven mono brand stores across 18 different countries. In 2018, we want to triple this presence and to strengthen our image as a reference point in this category. I am not shy to acknowledge that there will be spend bumps along the way but I am positive with my teams’ dedication and our community’s support we will come through. I was to see D1 Milano become a global brand with worldwide presence.