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Allen Brill, president and chief executive officer of Rolex Watch USA, died of cancer Saturday at his home in New York. He was 64.
This story first appeared in the December 1, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Rolex said Brill’s illness was recently diagnosed “at a very advanced stage.”
“There is no way to measure his love for Rolex and its employees,” the company said. “It was his life and his home for over 30 years. Much of what makes the company successful today can be attributed to his leadership and his confidence in the Rolex team…We often heard from Allen, ‘Let’s just keep doing things a little better every day,’ and we’ll continue to follow his advice.…We join Allen’s family and circle of friends in our sorrow and in our gratitude for what we learned from him.”
Brill began working for the brand as a salesman. He was national sales manager, senior vice president and executive vice president of sales before being named president and ceo in 2004. He succeeded Walter Fischer, who moved on to the position of chairman.
“He was such a visionary,” said James Seuss, ceo of watch retailer Tourneau. “He was an exceptional leader.…He took such great care with each account no matter where the business was.…He did an amazing job of positioning Rolex in the marketplace. He grew the brand to what it is today.”
In 2009, Brill received the American Gem Society’s Triple Zero Award for his record of service to the industry.
Brill was involved in several charities, including the Helen Keller National Center, the Navy Seals Warrior Fund, the Jerusalem Center for Blind Children with Multiple Disabilities, and Career Transition for Dancers.
He encouraged Rolex sponsorship of philanthropic causes and events. “He was so involved, and he got Rolex involved with many different community programs,” Seuss said. “It’s amazing to see how a corporation like Rolex took an active role.…That was the kind of man he was…he was a great businessman, and a great man, too.”
Brill is survived by his mother, Ruth Brill, and a sister, Laura Mintz