The watch man on Swiss tourbillons, Florida sushi, and Long Island guys’ nights out
1. What’s your most memorable sale and why?
A few months back, a client of mine expressed interest in buying a very special timepiece by Ulysse Nardin. So I arranged a visit to its U.S. headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. The customer suggested we fly down on his private jet. Then, Ulysse Nardin was nice enough to welcome us with a sushi lunch and a private viewing of their spectacular timepieces. It was during that visit that my client purchased a limited edition royal blue tourbillon set with round diamonds and blue baguette-cut sapphires for $400,000, as well as a few others.
2. What’s the best idea you’ve come up with for your store?
We recently instituted a watch collectors club that meets two to three times per year. At the meetings, we host a five-course dinner in the store—with tablecloths and silverware—and have [representatives of?] a featured watch brand come and speak, bring in their newest products, and talk about limited editions and introductions for the year ahead. It’s kind of a guys’ night (we have cigars). The club fosters the interests of watch collectors and connects them to others who share their passion.
3. When you walk through your front door, what do you like most about your store?
I have to say that when I come into the store every morning, I look forward to the people I work with. The Maddaloni team is dedicated to giving each customer a positive experience. Customer retention has been a key to the success of my business.
4. How do you differentiate your store from the competition?
We are passionate about watches. Maddaloni can converse about the finer points—like swan-neck gaskets underneath screw heads—of models we don’t even stock. Sometimes we know more about models than the brand representatives or stores that do carry them. We also write down everything—any and all information the customer gives, from their pets to the type of car they drive—on a job envelope. Even the most mundane information can be a tool to use in a future sale.
5. What was your finest hour in customer service?
We had a customer buying a particularly complicated platinum limited-edition perpetual-calendar pocket watch, which also happened to be the last one available in the world! In the midst of the sale, it became evident there was a screw loose inside the watch; the head of the screw had actually broken off inside. Since we have a Swiss-trained timepiece technician on premises, we were able—in the span of a few short hours—to disassemble the watch, remove the screw, and fabricate a new one from scratch, right there in the store. The watchmaker then reassembled the watch, and Maddaloni delivered the piece, a $102,000 sale, in time for the owner’s dinner plans that night. If that watch had had to go back to the manufacturer, it would have been sent back to Switzerland and would have taken four to six months to repair.