Ricardo Guadalupe and Flavio Manzoni: the forces behind Hublot and Ferrari

Ricardo Guadalupe and Flavio Manzoni

What do Hublot and Ferrari have in common?


….And two geniuses with the ability to see beyond the visible, into a future which does not yet exist and create the unimaginable uniting two classic luxury brands from two different industries.

  • the famous first ever scratch-resistant 18-carat gold invented by Hublot!
  • 50 power reserve: the unique power reserve lasts an incredible 50 days – a new world record in horology.
  • 637 components: the watch with the most watchmaking components created to date by Hublot.
  • The movement: the hour and minute are displayed to the right of the barrels, also indicated by means of one anodised black aluminium cylinder each. On their left is the cylinder indicating the power reserve. Reinforcing bars either side, made from anodised red aluminium, bring to mind Ferrari’s red signature.

The makers of total luxury 

These Masters of creation are no other than Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and Ferrari’s Head Designer Flavio Manzoni. I got the unique opportunity to sit with both of them during the Finali Mondiali and pick their brains a little. What an experience! One I will not forget.

Ricardo Guadalupe became CEO in 2012 succeeding Iconic figure Jean-Claude Biver. Together and apart, they have managed to continuously explore innovative and revolutionary ways to grow the brand and remain a leader in their industry.

I only had 5 minutes with each and had to make the most out of my time. I preempted my interview with Mr. Guadalupe by kindly asking him to give me the most in the shortest amount of time. He smiled and played the game 🙂

Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot 

Ricardo Guadalupe and Flavio Manzoni: the forces behind Hublot and Ferrari
Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot

Can you describe the Hublot Culture, under your direction, in 3 words?

Innovation. Passion. Creativity

Can you cite 4 things Hublot invented?

1- Our identity, “the Art of Fusion” – a new way to make watches which was never done before (2004). The first fusion happened in 1980. We were the first to use a rubber bracelet with gold. We were the first to combine an old material (gold) with a modern one (rubber which didn’t exist 100 years ago)

2- The Magic Gold – a scratch free gold. Gold is very soft therefore it can get scratched very easily. Our Magic Gold is a blend of ceramic and gold, a new material invented by Hublot.

3- In terms of the movement, to bring the mechanics into the aesthetic. For example with the Meka-10 movement, inspired by The Meccano game, we decided to remove the dial. The movement itself becomes the dial and adds an entertainment value. And today, we don’t sell watches for Time but for what they have inside. It’s an object of art which is meant to show status, and stunning aesthetics (not only on the outside but also the inside)

4- We were the first luxury watch brand to enter the world of Football in 2006. We used Football as a platform for communication.

What legacy would you like to leave?

For Hublot to be an essential part of the watch industry. To be a reference in the Swiss watchmaking industry, not only with its innovations but also sales of course!

What are some of the leadership lessons you’ve learned along the way?

One must lead by example. The same rules apply to everyone including the leaders. Just like start-ups, I like to work in an environment that breeds creativity, reactivity and flexibility. Of course many hours come with it but if you are passionate about what you do, it never gets old.

Did you always dream of being in this world?

No! In reality I got involved in this industry purely by circumstances and geography! I was born in Neuchâtel, son of a Spanish immigrant. I’m very grateful to him for this opportunity because my life would have most likely been very different in Spain.

And when in Neuchâtel, either you ended up working in banking, insurance or watchmaking! I’ve always loved the physical connection to a product. I started creating watches – my favourite thing to do. I love coming up with new ideas, designs and discover new technologies.

What advice would you give younger kids who would like to follow your footsteps?

Follow your own passion and not someone else’s. I always tell my son that I don’t want him to follow my footsteps because he feels pressure. He should find his own voice and hopefully get to exercise his passion whatever it may be.

I became more and more passionate with the years. I started at the age of 23 in this industry and learned to love what I’m doing. My life is beautiful because I do what I love.

I noticed that you don’t have too many women as your Ambassadors. Why?

We do have a couple (Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Bar Refaelibut it’s true that our brand is more masculine. Having said that we sell 25% to women. We are working on growing that side of our market and creating more watches for women.

Flavio Manzoni, Head Designer Ferrari 

Ricardo Guadalupe and Flavio Manzoni: the forces behind Hublot and Ferrari
Flavio Manzoni, Head Designer Ferrari

Flavio Manzoni is a man of great charisma but also quite demure. He seems as confident as he is humble which makes for a great leader and creative in my opinion.

In 2010, Flavio became Senior Vice President of Design at Ferrari, with the task of revamping the identity of the Italian brand.

Who inspires you?

In everything, everyone and everywhere! Having said that, I get most of my inspiration from many of the “grandi uomini”, geniuses who were able to create something really exceptional. Like Einstein, Corbusier or Marcello Gambini. Or great Italian designers like Castillioni, the geniuses of the 60’s and 70’s. Pierre Pollen, a great French designer whom not many people know unfortunately.

Every time there is an innovation, due to the genius of the intuition of the person, I’m fascinated by it. Musicians also. I love classical music but also jazz, which creative process I am fascinated by. The genius of musicians like Chris Javet who can create something so poetic and beautiful in real-time. The ability of someone to be able to respond to time and create something very fast but so poetic and harmonic drives me crazy!

Anyone from this generation?

In music for example, there are geniuses like Lang Lang. A true gift of God!

Did you always want to design cars?

I wanted to be so many things! An Architect, an Artist, a Musician! But I didn’t know that life is short and I couldn’t do it all at the same time so I had to choose! And I picked car design because I was crazy about cars.

Would you like to design anything else than cars and watches?

I love what I do! Ferrari is such an incredible “patrimony”. It’s incredible. It’s a source of inspiration every day! If  you could think of what Enzo Ferrari was able to create in only a few years! When he founded the company, he was almost 50. He created a myth in just a few years!

How can you align the traditional design with a more futuristic vision? Is it difficult?

I try to develop my own philosophy around this topic. We live in a nostalgic era which probably represents the lack of trust in the future. In a way, in the 60’s and 70’s, after the wars in Italy, people were so excited about the future that it created a very fertile condition. Instead if you fear the future, the risk of stagnation or even the temptation of modelling the icons and archetypes of the past is huge.

We know the history of Ferrari very well but there is no need to become slaves of it. We must find a way to transfer the DNA of the brand in a modern way. It is essential to make an effort of imagination and not stay linear.

If you could do a road trip in a Ferrari with someone, who would it be?

Enzo Ferrari! My ultimate dream!!

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