This is the story of how my path crossed with Alain Dominique Perrin, the former Executive Director of The Richemont Group and the father of “Marketing de Luxe” and how these moments shaped my career.
The first time I met Alain Dominique was not at a Cartier event, but rather it was at Le Cheval Noir restaurant in a small town west of Paris called Bougival. The beauty of Bougival has been captured by the likes of Monet, Sisley, Renoir, and Vlaminck.
This is the story of how my path crossed with my role Model
I was his waiter.
For years I enjoyed serving him his plate of winkles with bread and butter. I’m sure this seafood delicacy reminded him of his childhood in Brittany where he was born. To accompany the peppery winkles, he ordered his favorite wine from Le Chateau Lagrezette. In fact, Alain Dominique was the new owner and operator of Le Chateau Lagrezette in the Cahors region, having purchased the vineyard in 1980. In addition to fulfilling his love and passion as a winemaker, Alain Dominique was already in the midst of his high-profile career at Cartier with the media covering his accomplishments on a daily basis.
It was a real pleasure to be his waiter-it was a way for me to participate indirectly in his happiness. I truly enjoyed each time he came to the restaurant. While my interactions with him were limited and I did not know him personally, I always appreciated his presence.
Within the dining hall, I was able to observe and study him. I listened carefully to the way he spoke and his accompanying gestures. I respected his interactions with and attitude towards other people. At least in my experience, he was always polite and displayed impeccable manners. Being a dreamer, I imagined how he conducted himself in the office. I assumed he was warm, yet strict—efficient, focused, and always looking to reach his business objectives.
Not only did Alain Dominique’s personality have a big influence on me, but he was also a determining factor in my decision to become an entrepreneur even though we never spoke business. I wanted to emulate aspects of his persona, such as his marketing brilliance, intelligence, innovation, humility, and simplicity. He was, in essence, my role model during my younger and formative years.
Fueled with determination, in 1989 I left the restaurant to go back to school to get my business degree. Once I obtained my diploma, I was lucky enough to travel the world working as an executive. Following that, I founded my own business. Throughout those years, I maintained my admiration for Alain Dominique and couldn’t help but smile every time I passed a Cartier boutique. I vowed that I would write him a letter one day to tell him what an inspiration he had been for me. This letter was part of my bucket list.
After three decades of successful business, I knew something was missing in my life. My love and passion for vintage watches and my desire to work in this industry was always on my mind.
It was time for me to do what I really wanted to do in life. I was excited at the possibility of waking up every morning working as a contemporary and vintage watch dealer. Alain Dominique once again resurfaced in my mind and he was, yet again, part of my decision-making process. Should I do it?
I finally took the plunge and now I am the proud owner of Laurent Fine Watches. My passionate hobby is at last at the core of my career and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
As for Alain Dominique, I wrote him that letter and checked it off my bucket list. Ever the gentlemen, he answered my correspondence warmly and respectfully. But that didn’t surprise me at all, because that’s the kind of man he is.
Do you have a watch related story to like to share with me? I would love to hear it, so please get in touch.
Laurent Martinez ✦ Laurent Fine Watches ✦