Ion Schiau returned to ROMANIA because of his passion for watchmaking

Ion Schiau s-a întors în ROMÂNIA din pasiunea pentru ceasornicarie

This week the Le Petit Journal editorial team conducted an interview with Ion Schiau , a Francophile personality of Romanian origin who chose to return to live in Romania. In this sense, Ion Schiau is a great example of success. After working in Switzerland and New York for the Swatch Group, this watch enthusiast returned to Bucharest and now heads his own company, Albini Prassa.

an article by: Grégory Rateau

Le Petit Journal : Can you introduce our readers to your background?

Ion Schiau: I was born in Bucharest and left Romania in my mother's arms in the mid-70s. I landed in Switzerland at Biel, one of the great centers of Swiss and world watchmaking. After my studies in Geneva and a first term in New York, I returned to my city to join the Swatch Group, the largest industrial watch group, in the late 90s. In 2004, I created my own company, Albini Prassa, specialized in the trade and development of watch brands in Romania. I also had the chance to work for Hublot and develop its own store network since 2010. Later, in 2012, as an associate partner and sales and marketing manager, I joined HYT, the first brand to use liquids to indicate hour. In 2017 I returned to Romania to run my company Albini Prassa.

Le Petit Journal : Where did this passion for watchmaking come from?

Ion Schiau:It is the passion for a region and a state of mind above all. This comes from a great affection for this corner of Switzerland, the Arc de Jura, which almost imperceptibly conveys the love for precision and craftsmanship, a very "Swiss" term. From very small, we go to very large and a complete openness to the whole world and its trade networks. I think with great respect of those watchmakers who went centuries ago to the four corners of the world to open markets and make Switzerland shine.

The transformation of a part of physical commerce will increasingly pass not through "points of sale" but "points of experience" where the relational and the human become central again. We believe that our mission is to create a space dedicated to these interactions where the encounter with the story of a brand actually takes place.

Le Petit Journal : In 2017, you took over the reins of Albini Prassa (a company focused on the distribution of watches in Romania, founded in 2004) to give it a new direction. Can you tell us about it?

Ion Schiau: We were primarily a distribution company, our biggest brand is still Tissot, a widely distributed brand, but we wanted to offer a new experience to our customers. After traveling the globe for this industry for twenty years, I realized that beyond the huge upheaval that online sales represent for our industry, a more personal approach was becoming crucial.

We believe that our mission is to create a space dedicated to these interactions where the encounter with the story of a brand actually takes place. This is how Maison Albini Prassa was born, a non-traditional space, a destination in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Bucharest where time, the relationship with objects related to time is different.

Le Petit Journal : What repercussions could this health crisis have on the life of companies?

Ion Schiau: The main upheaval, in our industry and in the long term, is the acceleration of online sales. A topic that was practically taboo for the watch industry until recently, the crisis accelerated an inevitable phenomenon and changed consumer habits.

Le Petit Journal : What projects do you have at the moment to boost your business?

Ion Schiau: We are passionate about history and stories are what connect us to watchmaking. Our passion was to bring to the Romanian market original creations, limited series designed for Romania. Our latest limited edition piece is the "Flèche d'Orient" , a Tissot Navigator, which is the first Worldtimer watch to have "Bucharest" as an indication in GMT+2. Paris-Bucharest-Istanbul, 3 hubs, three key cities of the mythical "Arrow of the Orient" line launched by the "Franco-Romanian Air Navigation Company". A surprising and magnificent example of the collaboration between France and Romania that gave birth a hundred years ago to the first transcontinental airline in the world! The Franco-Romanian dynamic initiated at several levels (diplomatic, financial, military) found here an unprecedented denouement whose long-term effects were crucial for civil aviation in France and Romania. I could talk for hours about this, I invite you to discover our microsite (in Romanian and French) to learn more.

The entire interview can be read here: THEY RETURNED TO ROMANIA - Ion Schiau, the passion for watchmaking |


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