How D1 Milano Watches Ended up Being Sold in DubaiALUMNUS DARIO SPALLONE HAS CREATED A WATCH BRAND INSPIRED BY ITALIAN STYLE WHICH COMPETES ON AN EVEN KEEL VS THE BIG TRANSNATIONAL PLAYERS IN THE WATCHMAKING INDUSTRY
To succeed as a young innovative company in the watch industry, one of the most tenaciously linked to tradition and craftsmanship. This is the challenge of Dario Spallone, Bocconi Class of 2013 (Degree in International Economics, Management and Finance), who graduated with a thesis that contained the marketing plan of his creature D1 Milano. Six years later, his entrepreneurial bet seems to have been abundantly won and today the Dubai-based Italian brand is one of the fastest growing in the watch sector.
“We went from the 300 watches produced in our first year of operation to the approximately 100,000 we are making now, distributed in 700 points of sale across 31 countries. The choice of headquartering in Dubai was not due to tax reasons, but to the fact that, as a young entrepreneur without millions in assets, I had to follow closely the most important market for our company: the Persian Gulf.”
In spite of the initial difficulties, Dario’s business venture has really taken off in recent years: in its industry, the brand has one of the highest growth rates in the world: “When you start a company, you don't always have a well-defined path ahead of you, even if you drafted a detailed business plan, because things do change quickly. At Bocconi I learned the tools to make you react fast to sudden changes ".
D1 Milan takes inspiration from the watches of the 1970s, with their geometric shapes, but employs avant-garde materials and above all manic attention to details to differentiate its product: "We need to focus on details: small touches on cases and the shapes can suffice to create objects which are as elegant as they are amusing, by highlighting what others cannot replicate, the typical Italian love for beauty”. Even if the brand is young, the company has grown ("We are currently around 20 people") and ambitions are great.
"We are a healthy company, with very little debt, and this allows us to survive and thrive in a market dominated by large groups. Seven hundred stores are still almost nothing, but my ambition is to create a pole that will act as point of reference for the Made in Italy in watchmaking”. Dario is one of the many young Italian who left the country to seek fortune abroad. Can you envisage your return to the Peninsula? "My brand is strongly linked to Italy, starting from the name to the taste for detail I mentioned earlier. Nothing is planned, and the future is unwritten: if the right conditions were there, why not?".
by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Alex Foti