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By Roberta Naas | June 20, 2014 | Watches & Jewelry
Stacie Orloff, one of the few female execs in the watch business, is changing the face of Miami-based Bell & Ross.
The global watch industry has long been dominated by men; only in the past few decades have women begun taking on leadership roles. One such pioneer is Stacie Orloff, who became the president of Bell & Ross in the Americas six years ago. With 20-plus years of experience in the watch industry working with brands such as Corum, Gucci, and Montblanc, Orloff took over the reins at Bell & Ross with army-like determination. In the six years she has been in charge of the Miami headquartered brand, Orloff has grown the business more than 300 percent, built an entire technical service center (complete with four watchmakers), and has increased the average retail sale close to $1,500.
“When I met with the two male owners of the brand about establishing the US arm here, everything clicked,” says Orloff. “They wanted someone the retailers could trust and have confidence in, someone who could realize the Bell & Ross vision, which is to create watches for professionals who demand optimal reliability, meeting four basic principles—legibility, functionality, precision, and water-resistance. I was that someone. I knew I could execute the plan.”
Stacie Orloff’s “power watch” is the Bell & Ross 45mm Big Date. Tourneau, Aventura Mall, 19575 Biscayne Blvd., 305-932-2280
While Orloff often travels back and forth to Switzerland, her primary itinerary is between North and South America, building relationships with retailers and increasing brand presence in these important markets. As company president, she aims to maintain the brand’s dominant position in the $3,000-to-$5,000 category while expanding into more expensive timepieces using new case materials and complications. “I run Bell & Ross as though it is my own brand,” says Orloff, who had a staff of just two employees when she started with the company; today she oversees 17—seven of whom are women. “We are small and family owned, and you have to make every minute count in the run for success.”
To monitor those minutes, Orloff alternates between several different Bell & Ross timepieces, her favorite being a 45mm Big Date watch. “If you are wearing a strong and recognizable accessory, it gives you the confidence that says I can easily handle anything thrown my way,” explains Orloff, who also favors the sleek BRS Automatic Silver; the 1940s aviation-inspired Officer Black bracelet; and the Grande Date, which was inspired by the pocket watches of the 1920s. “This watch makes the statement that I am strong. It says I am here.”
photography by gary james (orloff)