Pierre Salanitro’s journey to becoming the watchmaking industry’s most sought-after expert in gem-setting is an unusual one. Initially working as a banker, he made a swift career change to becoming a professional gem-setter and has grown his business from just himself to a team of nearly 230.
Salanitro’s clients are as illustrious as they are numerous, counting Patek Philippe, Hublot, Tiffany & Co., and Audemars Piguet and others among their ranks. Salanitro’s relationship to Patek Philippe is especially noteworthy, as the watchmaking giant owns a stake in Salanitro SA, while Thierry Stern is a close friend.
But Salanitro’s vision is not limited to watches, as in 2022 he launched a new label under his name, “S by Salanitro”, which produces works of art that include jewellery, objects, games, and art – anything but watches.
A Collected Man: How did you break into the gem-setting industry, and what initially drew you to this craft?
Pierre Salanitro: It all started 36 years ago when I entered the banking sector, and I didn’t know what to do, to be honest. This was Switzerland, when I finished my studies, I could choose between the bank, chocolate, or watches. I didn’t know anything about watches at this time, and I was very young of course, so I decided to enter the bank business.
But very quickly, I realised that I didn’t like banking, and that it wasn’t going to be my career, it was too virtual, you don’t physically do anything. It was too impersonal for me – there was no space for creativity, innovation, or anything else that really excites me. I have ideas 24 hours a day and I really enjoy creating.