Girard-Perregaux has a new addition.

This story first appeared in the February 16, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Michael Margolis, previously sales director at Hublot, will join Girard-Perregaux as its president of America, effective March 1.

Margolis, a timepiece enthusiast and longtime collector, worked at Magellan GPS for a decade before joining Hublot’s team as promotions and communications manager in 2007. After six months, he was promoted to sales director, a role he spent the next four years in before deciding to join Girard-Perregaux.

Girard-Perregaux chief executive officer Michele Sofisti recruited Margolis to help the luxury watch brand increase its U.S. presence — which Margolis thinks needs “a little bit of redirection.”

“I don’t pretend to know what its strengths and weaknesses are from the inside, [as] I don’t start for another few weeks, but I do want to increase customer service and get them more in touch with their customer,” Margolis told WWD. “I want the customer to feel more connected to the brand and Switzerland.”

Margolis, who calls the company a “beautiful, 221-year-old brand,” recounted when he got his very first watch — an Omega C Master — as a high school student in 1975.

“I always tell people I wound it up, put it to my ear and I heard the ticking of that little machine and fell in love. I was outside the industry for a long time,” Margolis said, adding that he also served as a moderator at Time Zone. “I was just a passionate watch collector and Jean-Claude Biver [former ceo of Hublot] gave me my first chance to be in the industry.”

Sofisti added: “I also worked for Biver for a long time. I think that he’s the perfect teacher for everybody in the industry. We come from the ‘Biver school,’ and I hope that this can really help us develop something good for Girard-Perregaux in the United States.”

In addition to bringing Margolis on this year, Sofisti intends to rework the current collection and simplify offerings, as well as implement a new marketing and communications strategy. He is also looking to open new points of sales in the U.S. and Latin America.

The brand’s previous president of America, Frederic Leys, left the company Feb. 9.

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