Patek Philippe, Seiko Get New Presidents for U.S.

Two top watch brands have new presidents for their U.S. operations.

Patek Philippe USA

Larry Pettinelli is the new president of the Henri Stern Watch Agency (also called Patek Philippe USA), the U.S. division and distributor of Patek Philippe, one of the best-known Swiss luxury watch brands in the U.S. market. Pettinelli, a former investment banker, joined the New York City–based company 19 years ago as a sales associate. He had been vice president since 2000.

Hank Edelman, who had been president since 1991, became chairman of the board of directors and continues to work in the New York office on a limited weekly schedule. Edelman started at the Henri Stern Agency in 1961, as a messenger during college breaks, and worked his way up. Under his leadership, the U.S. company has grown, the brand image has become ingrained with the affluent public, and Patek Philippe’s place in the U.S. fine-watch market has solidified.

Philippe Stern, president and owner of Geneva-based Patek Philippe S.A., the parent firm, noted that Pettinelli was “ideally suited” to lead the Henri Stern Watch Agency. “He has worked closely with Hank for 18 years, understands our philosophy, and will continue to promote our brand with loyalty, dignity, and fairness,” Stern said.

Pettinelli promised to “continue our focus on educating the American consumer about the value inherent in every Patek Philippe timepiece. We intend no dramatic change in direction and will continue our close partnership with our authorized retail partners.”

Patek Philippe is sold at about 130 authorized retail stores in the United States.

Seiko Corp. of America

Akira Suzuki took over as the new president of Seiko Corp. of America, located in Mahwah, N.J., on Jan. 2. Suzuki was appointed executive vice president of Seiko Watch Corp., the parent holding firm, last September. He has over 40 years with the company. His previous assignments include serving as head of Seiko Clock worldwide. Earlier, during the 1980s, he was in charge of the Seiko USA clock division when it was located in New York City.

Suzuki succeeded Masato Nakaoda, who had been SCA president only since June and has returned to Tokyo to assume a new position overseeing corporate communications and the brand-building strategies for some of Seiko Corp.’s other product divisions, including clocks, opticals, and jewelry.

The rest of the SCA management team remains unchanged, and its mission remains the same, said Nakaoda in a Dec. 19 letter. “We will continue to lead in new watch technologies and to further demonstrate innovation and refinement.”