Giorgio Damiani has a passion for the sea. For him it is something that is really hard to give up. His passion for the sea was born when he was a tiny child and spent as much time as he could aboard with his father. Even today, he casts off every chance he gets between work commitments that take him all over the world. (Here all our posts about the Damiani Group)
The sea, after all, is a state of the soul. “Once I cast off, everything changes,” says Giorgio Damiani “It’s like entering a new dimension. Your perception of time changes and every moment seems to stretch out into infinity”. Damiani is a man who knows all about time, being the vice-president of the Damiani Group, which in addition to the jewellery side of the business, spanning the Salvini, Calderoni, Bliss, and, of course, Damiani, brands, also has a strong presence in the watch sector thanks Rocca 1794.
Damiani’s recent acquisition of Floris Coroneo and the historic Bruno Maria Zimmitti jewellers in Siracusa will further strengthen that presence. We spoke to Giorgio Damiani aboard his new Pirelli 50 V Marine Limited Edition, no ordinary maxi-RIB but a special version of the Pirelli flagship model customised for Damiani by V Marine founder, Vincenzo Soria.
How did you come to decide on this craft?
For a lot of reasons. I have always been passionate about boats and the sea. I was lucky enough to pursue that passion and share it with the people I am closest to, my brother (Guido Grassi Damiani, ed.’s note) and his family. Then, as often happens in this life, things evolved and so did our needs. The time was right to make a choice that honed in on a boat of this particular type. I have always been fascinated inflatables, if you can call them that nowadays – it seems a bit simplistic. Every time I saw one as a child, I dreamed of jumping aboard, firing up the engine and heading off out to sea. I don’t know why but inflatables really communicated the whole idea of freedom to me.
Is this your first experience with one of these boats?
In actual fact, in 2018, on the advice of my good friend, Vincenzo Soria of V Marine, I bought a Pirelli 1400. Even though it was more or less the same size as the present on, it was much sportier and was a pure open. But I really liked its flexibility, ease of handling and incredible versatility of use. So even when the opportunity arose, I didn’t abandon this type. But with the Pirelli 50, onboard comfort was really improved by a genuine cabin with separate head. So this is the perfect size boat for me to enjoy my passion for the sea with my closest friends and family.
Do you prefer to anchor or tie up in port?
Anchor every time. Getting up in the morning and diving into the water in silence is priceless.
Has the sea offered good opportunities to promote and highlight Damiani’s values?
Absolutely. The Damiani Ourdream maxi took part in a huge number of competitions and not only grabbed attention but also won may prestige events. Then there was our experience with the Damiani Italia Challenge yacht that we sponsored for the Auckland races which was hugely satisfying. Even now, so long afterwards, it is great to think that we had aboard sailors of the like of Francesco Bruni and Vasco Vascotto, who were in the thick of the last America’s Cup with Luna Rossa.
Is the watch segment turning out to be important for the Damiani Group?
Rocca’s credibility and story meant we could get an overview of (?) a market segment, watches and that was strategically important. Then, the unique format is also proving very satisfying in terms of results. I think there are still margins there to strengthen our presence in the watch segment. We recently overhauled and extended our space in the La Rinacente department store in Milan. Last year, we bought Floris Coroneo which has stores in strategic areas like Cagliari and Porto Cervo, and the historic Bruno Maria Zimmitti jewellers in Siracusa. We are also sounding out the possibility of taking Rocca outside of Italy and targeting other European countries in addition to Switzerland where the brand has a retail point in Lugano. So there is no shortage of plans and choices.
What is your own relationship with time?
It’s our most important resource. The pandemic taught us we had to rethink our priorities. And time management is definitely at the top of the list.