It’s considered impolite to ask a woman her age but when I met Erminia Cutri, the striking lady who manages the Jaeger LeCoultre boutique on MonteNapoleone, I could not help blurting out the question. Luckily, I was spared an unappreciative reaction, because with such incredible genes, she had nothing to hide and very proudly answered without the slightest hesitation. Best described as a prim, proper and slender gazelle, time has been exceptionally kind to her and with her youthful appearance, I find it hard to believe that she had already spent fifteen years floating within the fashion industry. Possibly one of the many golden points on her impressive resume – together with her untainted beauty – that makes her an asset to the Swiss watch company’s recent arrival in Milan.
Having worked for some of the most respected Italian brands: Missoni, Prada and Maxmara, Calabrian-born Erminia felt a strong need to diversify her knowledge of fine craftsmanship by taking up a position as Store Director at Jaeger LeCoultre’s very first mono-brand store in Italy – a watch producer that first came to life in 1833, thanks to the self-taught horologist, Antoine LeCoultre. Based at the start of MonteNapoleone, the doors to this compact retail space were opened in December last year and it enjoyed immediate success with both, foreign visitors and Italian citizens who were all anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jaeger LeCoultre’s iconic timepiece ranges: Atmos, Amvox, Master Control, Duometré and of course, their renowned Reverso – a name so well-known and internationally acclaimed, that much of the brand’s success can be attributed to this specific collection.
Erminia’s assistant brought out six of their iconic Reverso watches neatly spread on a tray and placed it on the table in front of us. After slipping a glove onto a perfectly manicured hand, Erminia
explained that the ‘swivel’ idea was born in 1931when British colonial soldiers stationed in India were desperately trying to find a way to protect the delicate glass casings of their wristwatches from the hard knocks suffered during polo matches. Jaeger LeCoultre accepted the challenge which lead to the invention of the Reverso watch and true to its name, it allows wearers to ‘reverse’ the face with a single flip. It consists of no less than fifty parts and turns a full 180 degrees to reveal a different side altogether; a creative opportunity to personalize your Reverso by engraving your memorable story on the flat underside, enameling a miniature duplicate of a family painting or even carpeting the watch in diamonds arranged in a special pattern with their gem-setting technique.
Erminia tucked a wisp of dark hair behind her ear and pointed out the smaller rectangular faces of the ladies’ Reverso Dame and Duetto Classique pieces, while the Squadra Lady Duetto boasts a bold square shape. With inter-changeable straps from stainless steel bracelets to alligator leather, these timepieces display other special features like a second differently coloured dial for variety as well as day/night indicators displayed by either golden sun rays or shining evening stars. The men’s Reverso watches are just as fascinating and are made from a variety of materials including pink-gold, platinum and titanium to ceramic and articulated rubber. The Reverso Grande Taille has the smallest face from all the men’s pieces, while the Grande GMT is a globetrotter’s dream. The men’s Squadra Chronograph has the largest face and can be started, stopped and reset with only two buttons.
Finding herself on MonteNapoleone – the main artery of the fashion capital – watching the hordes of shoppers on their retail pilgrimage, Erminia seems to have her bread deliciously buttered on both sides. She compares herself to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ for she is laying in the lap of luxury, working for a prestigious brand while being surrounded by every world-class boutique, thus allowing her to keep her finger on the pulse of changing fashion trends. And as the new kid on the block, she knows that her sought-after products sell themselves, yet she does her very best to keep her pearly smile on show and her almond eyes friendly and approachable because to her, nothing is more important than the unbeatable customer service that she and her staff offer – another ‘beautiful’ reason to shop on MonteNapoleone.