On a warm afternoon in the middle of nowhere, Antony Lindsay, the newly-appointed CEO of Fabergé sits before us as the ice in a glass next to an unopened can of Coke, tinkles as it melts. As the CEO of a storied brand like Fabergé, Lindsay’s task is to spread the word (and work) of the Romanov’s favourite jewellery house. With Sincere Watch Limited as its official retailer in Singapore, Fabergé continues to make its presence known. And yes, Fabergé is synonymous with the gem-encrusted eggs but the house has other achievements like jewelled boxes; animals carved out of precious stones and other ornamental objects.
In 2007, the brand underwent a revival. Taking inspiration from its storied past, Fabergé created original pieces like the Vissionnaire watches, where a Chronograph model displays two time zones at once, and the Altruist line, which has a clean and simple-to-read dial, with a crown that’s reminiscent of winding up a traditional clock. The collection that secured Fabergé’s footing in the hard jewellery world is the Compliquée models, which won the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award.
As water pool at the bottom of the glass, Lindsay talks to us. About his history, where Fabergé is at and the future.
ESQUIRE: Did Sean Gilbertson (Fabergé’s last CEO) leave you with any wisdom when you took over?
ANTONY LINDSAY: [laughs] There’s been many over the years. I’ve known Sean, coming up to almost 14 years, and we shared some moments, both good and challenging. Nothing springs to mind... except for this Winston Churchill quote, “If you ever find yourself going through hell, keep walking.”
ESQ: What’s your journey been like?
AL: I come from a family of jewellers and had an interest in gemmology at a young age. I’ve been neurolinguistically programmed to appreciate jewellery, timepieces and objets d’art just by hanging out at my dad’s atelier on the weekends. I’d look at the gemstones handled by the craftspeople. I have an appreciation for hard luxury and completed my apprenticeship as a bench jeweller. I’m proud of having played such an important role within Fabergé for about 14 years. I’ve worn different hats as well. Proud when I was appointed MD and was invited to join the board of Gemfields UK Limited. As well as becoming CEO this year.
I feel privileged and fortunate to be part of a team to write the next chapter of one of the most celebrated names in luxury. I see that as an honour. It’s the revival of the coloured gemstones on one hand and it’s also the revival of Fabergé on the other. It’s what keeps us very busy.
ESQ: What sets Fabergé apart from the rest of your competition?
AL: I’d say that Fabergé’s reputation for unrivalled craftsmanship and design is globally recognised. I’d say Fabergé’s diverse use of techniques like the guilloché enamel with the use of hard stone or visible setting. In keeping with tradition, we seek to work with the finest ateliers. Because we don’t have our own workshop, we seek out workmasters all around the world. That’s quite unique to us.
ESQ: Speaking of tradition, how do you maintain that heritage while courting the newer generation?
AL: That’s a good question. It’s important to us that we pay homage and recognise what was done in the past. We draw inspiration from Peter Carl Fabergé, whether that be through his philosophies, values or craftsmanship. To apply it in a modern and contemporary and relevant way; we like to consider ourselves as a forward-thinking brand.
ESQ: How did your partnership with Sincere come about?
AL: I’d say that we are actively looking to partner with the finest retailers in existence. We don’t profess to understand every market on the planet. So, we believe that by partnering with the best of the best, who understands how to represent a brand like Fabergé; and how to offer first-class customer service... that’s very important to us. Sincere Watch Group is the perfect fit for Fabergé and we’re delighted that they are representing us here in Singapore and soon in other parts of South East Asia.
ESQ: What would you introduce to someone new to Fabergé?
AL: I would introduce the Compliquée Peacock watch, which is quintessentially Fabergé. We took inspiration from the Imperial Peacock Egg and, in keeping with the Fabergé tradition, we sought out the finest watch movement manufacturer and that led us to Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Agenhor and now his two sons, Nicolas and Laurent, who run the business on a day-to-day basis. Throughout the discussions with them, we made the Peacock watch that has a special retrograde movement, that functions off four gears, and that allows us to add a feature for the peacock’s tail to unfurl.
ESQ: Peacocks, playing cards; are there other motifs that will utilise that movement in the future?
AL: There are some plans and they are confidential. [laughs]
ESQ: You talked about Fabergé as a book that you’re proud to be part of. What is the next chapter?
AL: To continue this revival and personally—and I know I speak on behalf of my co-workers—it’s about ensuring that the Fabergé story can still be told. What Fabergé symbolises is more than simply luxury and decadence. For us, it’s about creating prized possessions that can stand the test of time and be passed down through the generations. That’s important to us and runs through our DNA. You can scour through Christie’s and see that Fabergé is one of the highly sought-after hard luxury names in existence.