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Founder of Watch and Jewelry Brand Dies in Race Car Crash

He was a ‘true epicurean.’

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Phillipe Charriol died Tuesday while driving his race car.

Philippe Charriol, founder of Swiss luxury goods brand Charriol, died Tuesday while driving his race car on the Circuit Paul Ricard, home of the 2018 French Grand Prix Formula 1.

Charriol, born in 1942, broke out on his own in 1983, founding Charriol as a multi-product brand making Swiss watches, jewelry, accessories, fragrance, optical and even Bordeaux wine.

In the 1980s, when the nexus of Swiss watchmakers was the Place Vendôme in Paris, Charriol instead focused his efforts on Asia, laying the foundations for what would grow into a luxury goods empire across the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

“As a result, the Charriol brand from its inception has been both a genuine Swiss watchmaker, and a truly international brand, genuinely rooted in Asia from day 1, as opposed to migrating to Asia in the early 2000s like so many European brands later did,” according to a press release.

Prior to founding his own brand, Charriol was a leader inside the maison of Cartier for 15 years, holding various positions, including general manager, then brand president for the Asian market.

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After leaving Cartier, it took seven years of bootstrapping before he opened the first stand-alone Charriol boutique in Hong Kong in 1990. The pace accelerated throughout the 1990s as he opened locations in Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Doha and Riyadh followed by Geneva, Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai, Las Vegas and many more.

Charriol also pioneered online sales, being the first Swiss watch and jewelry brand to emphasize its own e-commerce platform starting in 2008, according to the release.

“Philippe Charriol’s business and personal lives were intertwined, and he operated at full speed every day, even up to his final day, pursuing his entrepreneurial dreams as well as his personal passions such as motorsports, which he pursued at an almost professional level for the past 25 years,” according to the release. “He was a true epicurean, fascinated by more refined pursuits including architecture, culture, and arts – the latter being of particular interest to him, as he created the Philippe Charriol Art Foundation in Hong Kong which for more than 20 years gave annual awards to young artists to pursue their education in the arts.”

He is survived by his children, Coralie (creative director), Alexandre (visual director) and Laetitia, and his spouse Marie-Olga Charriol (PR director), who support the Charriol management team.

He will be laid to rest in a family funeral service in Marseilles, and his life will be celebrated at a memorial service in Paris at the end of March.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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