The endearing legacy of a well-loved man, Mr. Philippe Charriol


The passing of Philippe Charriol, founder of the Swiss jewelry and watch manufacturer, Charriol, came as a shock to many followers around the world. The brand’s Celtic collection, its maiden offering, is as iconic as the man himself, and is seen on the wrists of Charriol fans of all ages. It is symbolic of his devotion to art and history, and reflects the deep cultural impact of the brand now known around the world, including the Philippines.

Since the brand started in 1983, it has remained a family-run business in Geneva and, over time, carved a niche for itself as an international luxury brand of high-end Swiss watches, jewelry, and accessories. A leader in revolutionary design, it holds exclusive rights to trademark gold and steel cable style, and has continued to use traditionally industrial materials with polished metals and smooth lines. Of late, more feminine pieces have included crystals and precious stones, and made use of the steel cable treatment in a variety of bold colors, extending Charriol’s appeal to the younger, millennial market and proving further the enduring character of good, inspired design.

The Frenchman did not only have an eye for design, he also had a passion for racing. In his career, he often merged his two passions by designing limited-edition watches such as the Venturi Chronograph and the Diablo Chronograph, which he created when he began driving his Lamborghini Diablo. His travels also played a major role in crafting designs for the brands’ collection.

In 1984, the Rustan Group brought Charriol to the country — the first in Asia to carry the brand. Since then, Charriol’s cable motif watches and bracelets have become a statement piece among Filipinos, attesting to the brand’s universal appeal and Charriol’s contagious appreciation of culture. Twelve years later, in 1996, Charriol was transferred to Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI) and got its own standalone boutique. In the years that followed, the brand eventually gained a cult following, creating a niche market of their own. Its long history with the company helped shaped the Filipinos affinity to wearable luxury pieces, and at the same time built a lasting impression not only to the country but with the people working behind the brand as well.

SSI Group President, Anton Huang shares, "We, at the SSI Group, mourn the sudden passing of a valued partner of the Rustan Group and a dear friend of the Tantoco Family, Mr. Philippe Charriol. His dedication to the art of luxury retailing is truly an inspiration to his business partners, employees, and friends. Mr. Charriol was indeed a man of passion, and his success and the Filipino's inherent love for the Charriol brand is a true testament to that. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

During his several visits to the country, Charriol has established ties with local NGOs such as the Foundation for Professional Training, Inc., which offers technical-vocational training for women, and Carewell, a cancer support foundation. He also created the Philippe Charriol Art Foundation in 1985, promoting and supporting artists worldwide. To date, the country remains as one of the largest markets for Charriol, which is available at 17 points of sale in the country, including Cebu and Davao.