Hubert Burda Media

Peak Performance

A leading figure at Piaget and Omega for the last 30 years, Aldo Magada is now CEO and president of Zenith.

It has been four months since Aldo Magada assumed his role as chief executive officer at Zenith and he already looks right at home. “For me, as a fan of the watchmaking industry, Zenith is an achievement,” the former director of international sales and business development at Breitling shares, in reference to his latest Zenith appointment. “Not only is it a 149-year-old manufacture, it’s also a human-scale company where you can more or less see everyone.”
In Singapore to celebrate the opening of Zenith’s Marina Bay Sands boutique — its first flagship outlet in the city-state — Magada is keen to wax lyrical about the store’s strategic location (“hopefully people are coming out of the casino winning instead of losing,” he quips) and also elaborates about the manufacture’s strategy for the near future. “We want to concentrate, clarify and simplify,” he says. “We are a Swiss company and of course, we have one image that we want to communicate — but we also have to adapt [to our different markets].”
And what better a way is there than to strengthen their brand presence across the different regions? Magada himself would like to see more Zenith boutiques opening in Southeast Asia. And in his opinion, introducing the Marina Bay Sands outpost was as good a place to start as any. “It is one of the best shopping malls in Singapore and Singapore is the centre of the region,” he notes. “It’s like the London of Europe. In London, you have people from everywhere in the world and here, it is the same.”
Famed for its El Primero chronograph, which is arguably the most accurate of its kind in the market, the watchmaker prides itself on being a 100-percent manufacture that offers aficionados a form of “relaxed luxury”. While the brand enjoys soliciting feedback from enthusiasts and keeps an eye out on the ever-evolving trends in the market, it still very much remains focused on what it does best — creating high-quality movements. “We have to be careful not to become too toy or accessory-like,” Magada says. “We don’t want to [do something] gimmicky — Zenith does serious timepieces.”
A 30-year industry veteran, Magada could not be a better choice to lead the charge at Zenith, having held leading senior positions at watch manufactures including Piaget and Omega over the years. His main takeaway from his years in the trade? “You learn that nothing is ever the same [in this business],” he quips. “The only constant is change.”
Even if all else changes, one thing will remain the same at Zenith: The consumer is king. They are the ones who decide if you can grow or close down, Magada says matter-of-factly: “We have to respect the consumer and that’s why prices are very important for us,” he reveals. “Our products are not expensive when you consider the value and substance we put into it.”