Summer Breeze: What Watch CEOs are Reading
REVOLUTION catches up with CEOs of the most singular independent watch brands to see what’s on their summer reading list, and why winding down with a good book is important to them.
CEO of Jacob & Co.
“I’m currently reading The Outsider by Stephen King. I love how Stephen King writes. He is always so current and up to the minute in terms of social references. And this book is not horror, it’s a mystery/thriller. I am loving it, I just wish I had more time to read. I like mysteries, because I like trying to figure out what’s happening. It’s always unexpected, which I love about the genre.
I love reading books, but I have so little time to indulge. Since I was 17, I’ve been working so hard. When I do find the time to read, I cherish it. I travel a lot, so I love to pull out my book once I am on the plane and really relax. When I do get to go on vacation, I like to sit outside and devour the pages.
The book that had the biggest impact on me was definitely The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I read this when I was a teenager and I loved it, because of the action and the mystery and the adventure. I dreamed of travelling the world and having these kinds of adventures. Just talking about it makes me want to read it again.”
CEO of De Bethune
“Right now, I’m reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. Throughout the book, Harari essentially takes the pulse of society today and worldwide. Politics, social issues, technology, the environment and even religion — the book invites us to question our predispositions on these topics and their prominence in our daily lives in a world that has an increasingly uncertain future.
I usually enjoy reading 18th and 19th century literature, such as Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant, The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, or Candide by Voltaire. One book that had the biggest impact on me growing up was The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi — I read it when I was a young adult, and it encouraged me to have my own authentic experiences.
I don’t read now nearly as much as I used to. My coffee table has a big pile of books and magazines on it, all things I’ve read or eventually want to get to. I’ve read Le Bescherelle more than once, which is the French grammar bible, and of course read REVOLUTION and GMT magazine. So, I don’t read every day, but I try to keep time to read. Usually I end up reading onboard planes when I travel.”
CEO of Bell & Ross
“The book I have here is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig. This is a book that has inspired me since I was a student. When I was studying, I started to read this book because the theme is, in my opinion, one of the keys to good business and, speaking more broadly, to a good life. Basically, the book delves into how to consolidate your emotional outlook and your realism and other philosophical themes. While on a journey through the United States on his motorcycle, the narrator relays stories to his son and explains how to reconcile the emotional with the rational in pursuit of a qualitative life.
I bring this book with me on every important trip. I either take this book with me or a copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Sometimes I take both with me; but I always have at least a copy of one of them on me when I travel. I really enjoy reading and re-reading these books, because every time I take something new or different from it.
At Bell & Ross, there’s both the creative side and the business side to consider. But what really works is when both sides work together in tandem, which is completely possible — it’s our history.”
Co-founder of Greubel Forsey
“Generally, I’m more interested in non-fiction. I’ve read Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, who was an American living outside of America. He wrote the book in the ’70s when he did interrailing around Europe with another American and it follows his funny and unexpected adventures. I like to read comic stories, as well. I read through the James Herriot books and I loved them. The way he would tell stories about his life with animals was very funny.
It’s a cliché but, of course, George Daniels’ Watchmaking was definitely a book that marked me, for different reasons because it’s a non-fiction reference book, I guess. It’s not necessarily the book I would bring on a desert island, but it influenced me greatly.
I prefer to read outside, because it seems to take up a certain amount of time. We’re lucky in that we live out here in the middle of nowhere. So, you know, if the weather is warm enough, it’s nice to be outside. I very rarely read in French, it is mainly English, as everything I read for work is in French, so for relaxation, I like to read in English. But it does depend, I think it’s a bit like films, books are usually better in their original language.”