Interview with D1 Milano founder

  1. Introduce yourself!

I am Dario Spallone, and I am the Founder and Head of D1 Milano. I’m originally from Rome, but spent most of my life away from my hometown. Overall, I am quite a normal guy, who always had a keen passion for autobiographies and travelling, and rigorously worked on turning my dreams into a reality.

  1. What started your watch passion?

The passion stems not just for watches specifically, but for the creation of exquisite well-made products in general. I love the concept of beauty and I have a high appreciation for beautiful objects. The World may be a much better place if we placed our focus on Quality and Beauty, as it would serve well for those who create value. The World of Watches intrigued me ever since I was 14 years old, which therefore led me towards furthering my knowledge of the industry. Yet, I do not have the necessary expertise to call myself a watch expert, as I believe there is always room for new learnings and improvements.

  1. What makes a good wristwatch to you?

It makes you feel good when wearing it. Products remain products if they are unable to communicate meaning or value to the individual browsing them. When you view something and gain a sense of pride from it, then it means it is a good product with an accomplished purpose. Hence, a similar rationale also applies to a wristwatch.

  1. What watches do you have in your personal collection? And maybe you could list them or tell an interesting story about one particular one?

My first watch was from Calvin Klein, and I owned it when I was 13 years old. I remember my father gifted it to me when we were going on a trip to Greece. Although now that I understand it was merely a ‘fashion’ watch, and perhaps the quality was not up to par when compared to dedicated watch manufacturing brands; however, I felt good and grown-up whenever I wore it on my wrist. On that account, this is exactly what a good brand has to do, whereby it has to provide a sense of relatability, character, and feeling to the wearer.

How can one achieve this? Well, by being highly attentive to the details, along with remaining consistent in the story communicated. The story should not be generalised as people do not care for it, and can easily recognise if it was only composed for the purpose of selling. Instead, the message behind a story has to convey the soul embodied in each timepiece.

Unfortunately, the watch was stolen during my trip to Greece, and this also resulted in a very important lesson for me too, which is keeping things that matter to you close.

  1. Who is your ideal customer?

Somebody who wants to own an everyday watch that is not only well-made but also has a character to it.

Customers who usually buy our products already have far more expensive pieces in their collection, and they complement this with an everyday watch that allows them to experience a sense of beauty, without having to worry too much about losing or damaging it.

  1. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I am a workaholic, so I think about my job pretty much all the time. If you don’t love what you do then most probably you will not be good at it. Since I constantly deal with people along with building relationships, I try to meet as many individuals as possible through the means of sports, traveling, and personal hobbies. In return, this allows me to encompass a broader network and more diverse background that I can utilise for my job.

  1. How do you see your watch brand in the future?

We will continue to create beautifully well-made products, and this will enable us to grow with a culture that is at the base of our success.

  1. Are there any other new watches coming out anytime soon?

Yes, our goal and job is to continuously innovate through meticulous R&D on materials and details. The brand does not want to scream out the fact that we are different, instead D1 Milano is keen on utilising details to showcase that we are always working on something better.

  1. What was the hardest part of creating your own watch brand?

Creating a culture. When growth occurs; especially in a very short period of time, one must be extra careful in ensuring that culture reflects why you started in the first place. It is not always easy because it is difficult to prevail culture over growth, but nonetheless it is often the right choice.

  1. What is the key factor of a successful watch company?

Good people who understand that they belong as a part of a team, along with creating value together. If this area is missing, then performances will be the first to suffer.

  1. Any suggestions to someone who wants to start their own watch company?

The most important thing is not about starting something on your own, it is to work on a project that has the potential to create value. If are able to do this by yourself then well done, but if not, the key is to look for interesting individuals and form a team that holds the potential to make this happen.

Once you start working with a good team or building your own company, always remember to never dwell on the past. Consistency and coherence are valuable keys to success while falling down is only natural and part of the process. However, it is imperative that you stand back up, preserve, and continue pushing forward each and every day.

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