Jeremy Jauncey talks about his partnership with Panerai, watches and sustainability in the watchmaking world.
Jeremy Jauncey is the founder and CEO of Beautiful Destinations, “an award-winning strategy and creative agency for travel businesses.” The company is known for being innovative, having an immense social media presence and often collaborates with its diverse portfolio of partners. More importantly, however, Jauncey is known as a champion of travel as a force for good, both for the travelers themselves as well as the destinations they go to. Unsurprisingly, Jauncey has also been an ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund and GoldStandard.org. And on World Oceans Day 2021, Jauncey officially joined Panerai’s family of global brand ambassadors. The partnership feels only natural: Jauncey has long been a fan of the Italian watch manufacturer and Panerai has been at the forefront of addressing the environmental impacts of watchmaking.Just as Watches and Wonders Geneva 2022 was about to begin, DA MAN had the opportunity to chat with Jauncey about his ambassadorship with Panerai and his thoughts on sustainability. Here are excerpts from our exclusive interview.
DAMAN: What has been some of the most memorable or important milestones in your partnership with Panerai since your appointment as brand ambassador at World Oceans Day 2021?
Jeremy Jauncey: I’ve loved the brand long before I became an official ambassador, so I have a very longstanding connection with the brand. As our relationship developed, I was meeting individuals within the Panerai teams all across the world and getting to know the brand, trying to learn about the brand, trying to understand the core values behind the company. When we started an official partnership on World Oceans Day the whole story centered around: How do we raise awareness of sustainability today? But most importantly, how do we do it in a way that is inspiring, that motivates people, that gives people hope and optimism around the future?
So, what we’ve been doing is talking about two major things. One is how Panerai has become the leader in sustainable circular watch manufacture. One of the most impactful things I think the brand has done is actually open source the ability for anyone in the watch manufacturing scene to build upon the amazing work that has been done by Panerai in the last few years. I think that’s a huge milestone. There’s no credit I can take for that; I’ve just been a very fortunate participant to watch it unfold in front of us. But certainly, when it comes to making content and then helping the brand connect with a younger audience, that’s been where I spent most of my time trying to have an impact. If I can play a small role in educating the people that follow me or the people that know what I’m doing and what Panerai’s doing, then hopefully that can have a positive impact.
DAMAN: Products made using “recycled-based materials” or “upscaled surplus materials” have become rather common catchphrases these days. At what point do you think does it become more than just a buzzword but a real design philosophy?
Jeremy Jauncey: I think that’s a great question because when you actually look under the hood of what Panerai has done and really, deeply understand the changes that have been made from a supply chain standpoint, you realize how much of an investment in time, resources, people and effort has gone into making this a reality. Panerai could very easily have done the marketing and done the green-washing—which we’ve seen happen across a whole load of luxury brands where they just talk about the fact that sustainability is important. Instead, Panerai has gone deeply to the roots of the whole manufacturing process and then, as I said, open-sourced it so that everybody can see and other brands within the industry can actually benefit from the work that has been done. I think when you start to understand the depth that Panerai has gone, you realize that on the front end, they’re doing an amazing job from a marketing and brand awareness standpoint. I believe very passionately that if we want people to embrace sustainability, change the way that they live their lives, it has to come from places that they respect. Whether that’s art, culture, sports, music, fashion—those are the things that drive cultural change. Panerai has come forward as an amazingly cool and inspiring brand that cares deeply about sustainability and helps consumers understand why it’s such an important message to buy into. But then on the reverse side, its is able to say: “What we’ve done as a brand is difficult and so we want everybody to learn from the work that we’ve done, so that everybody within the industry can make a change.” I think that’s the most inspiring thing for me to learn.
DAMAN: When the average person thinks about corporate sustainability efforts, watchmaking is not the industry that generally comes to mind. How significant do you think is the impact that watch manufacturing actually contributes to our collective efforts to become more environmentally-friendly?
Jeremy Jauncey: That leans more into the kind of influence that the brand has with customers who wear the brand. We know there’s some very, very high-profile people around the world who wear the brand, love the brand and can influence consumers. Just as an example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was wearing a Panerai Submersible at the Super Bowl. That was broadcast to hundreds of millions of people around the world. That kind of influence within culture, within people, I think is enormous. On the one hand, I think Panerai can have an enormous opportunity there. From a manufacturing standpoint, the amount of time and effort that goes into the watchmaking industry is enormous. And it does have a carbon footprint. No matter the way that you look at how big or how small the industry is compared to others, any industry that can step up and try to make a change to become more sustainable will have a positive impact. Particularly because the kind of consumers that are buying Panerai products are more affluent and are maybe more influential in their line of business or in their communities as well.
DAMAN: A sadly common hindrance to becoming personally more conscious about the environment is pessimism and also cynicism. As someone who has been at the forefront of the fight for sustainability for so long, how do you usually approach or advise individuals with such a mindset?
Jeremy Jauncey: I think the first thing is to educate yourself. I think that’s the most important thing that you can do, because the easy answer is just to say: “I’m just one person, there’s nothing that I can do.” And I think you can apply that across so many things in life. The idea that you can’t have an impact just as a singular person, I think is actually not true today. We have the tools around us, the ability to tell stories, to get out on places like social media where we can impact people.
I built my business and my career in digital and social media. Beautiful Destinations now has over 40 million social media followers from over the world. But we did start with just one person following us. Had we not done what we did, we wouldn’t be able to grow in the way that we did. When you realize that actually everyone can have an impact if they try, you realize the power that you can have.
DAMAN: What would you say is your favorite Panerai watch in terms of what its development represents? The Submersible eLAB-ID, perhaps? Or the new Panerai Luminor Marina eSteel collection?
Jeremy Jauncey: Definitely the two that you just mentioned, because that was the founding of everything. That was the first push from the brand to be out into this space and saying: Sustainability is critically important for us as a brand and why we’re leaning into it and why we believe it will be a big part of the future. When we first partnered back on World Oceans Day 2021, it was for the eSteel collection and it was something that I felt very, very proud to be associated with. What’s become incredibly exciting for me is when you hear from Jean-Marc [Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué] and the leadership here that are talking about how the technology behind those initial watches is now in place to be rolled out across many, many other lines within the brand. You realize that when you look forward maybe five years into the future, many more Panerai watches will be built on this sustainable backbone. Which I think is incredibly exciting.
DAMAN: Speaking purely from a design or aesthetic perspective, what is your all-time favorite Panerai watch?
Jeremy Jauncey: The first ever Panerai that I had was an 8 Days GMT and that was really the introduction for me to the brand. It was the first watch that I owned. I remember being a younger man and dreaming about owning the watch and about what I needed to do to save up to be able to actually buy it. I think everyone has a sentimental connection to the first watch that they buy or the first watch that they’re gifted. So, I would say that sticks with me.
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