This week we have the pleasure of being in the company of the confident and driven Aleksandr Bernhard. Founder of exclusive luxury brand Christophe & Co, Bernhard is the man behind an innovative jewellery collection for men designed with a certain je ne sais quoi, embedded technology.
Tell us a little bit about your brand?
Christophe & Co manufactures ultra-exclusive men’s jewellery bracelets with embedded technology, designed by the legendary Pininfarina, best known for their Ferrari and Maserati designs. The pieces are in a way a physical expression of my life’s experiences and my passions in old world craftsmanship, extraordinary design, and cutting edge technology. I created Christophe & Co for people that not only achieve greatness in their own right but also inspire it in others. We build a very small number of these pieces to the absolute highest standards possible and I believe the result represents the future of haute jewellery.
What do you wish you knew before you started your business?
I wish I would have known how expensive and challenging it would be to successfully manufacture the extraordinary design presented to us by Pininfarina. I was fortunate to have found the very individuals who were able to make it happen.[quote_center]”I created Christophe & Co for people that not only achieve greatness in their own right but also inspire it in others”,[/quote_center]
What wearable, fashion or lifestyle, is on your must have wish list and why?
I am a huge fan of fine timepieces. When I go to Baselworld, I am usually most interested in the brands at The Palace or Swiss Creative Lab offsite which feature small independent brands that are doing some very interesting and innovative things. Perhaps it’s not surprising that my tastes in fine watches range from the absolutely impeccably crafted A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk to the ingenious and avant garde Urwerk UR-110.
Who in technology do you admire most?
Elon Musk. He is the archetype of the individual that embodies our brand. He has dreams and simply makes them happen, while at the same time inspiring young generations to, quite literally, reach for the stars.
What one word would you say defines you?
Driven[quote_center]”I find inspiration from the highly successful individuals”.[/quote_center]
How do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from the highly successful individuals to whom the Christophe & Co Armills are dedicated. These are people who started from nothing and built their empires when everyone around them was telling them they were crazy or that what they wanted to do couldn’t be done.
What was the best piece of advice you ever got? The worst?
I try to surround myself with people who can give me more of the former, but getting the latter is inevitable. Since it’s hard to zero in on the extremes of each, I’ll frame it in the realm of Christophe & Co: The absolute worst advice I have gotten was from a prospective investor who told me I should create a mass market product with the lowest possible manufacturing cost. Obviously he didn’t get it. The best advice I have gotten was, coincidentally, from another (and current) investor who told me to establish the brand’s core principles early on and once established, to stick to them no matter what. In many ways, this has made my journey easier because if something presents itself that isn’t in line with those values, I simply don’t pursue it.
What’s your favourite quote?
My favourite quotes are from Shakespeare. The beauty of his quotes is that many times they are hidden gems inserted into a passage that doesn’t necessarily have great meaning on the surface. It’s as if he was so talented that sometimes he accidentally created some of the most powerful quotes in history. One of my favourites is from ‘King John’ in the 5th act of the first scene where one of the characters is giving an inspiring bit of advice to the king and says “Be great in act, as you have been in thought.” To me this quote embodies that which any entrepreneur strives to achieve.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Tardiness. There is nothing more valuable than someone’s time. Whenever I am late, I feel I have dishonoured the individual and therefore I make it a point to strive to always be on time. I also expect this of others.[quote_center]”There is nothing more valuable than someone’s time”.[/quote_center]
What do you think is the biggest innovation of your lifetime thus far?
Most certainly it is this thing we call the internet. It is the reason I was able to find the incredibly talented individuals with the highly specialized skill set to design, engineer, and build our creations. It is because of this magical beast that I have the opportunity to share the story of my brand to the world. And it is what has directly or indirectly led to just about every innovation for the last few decades. The internet has become a living breathing entity which is a digital manifestation of the entire human existence both past, present, and future. What could be a bigger innovation than that!!??
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