When Gaëtan Gaye moved from Richemont’s Amsterdam office to Ressence in 2015, he doubled the size of the Antwerp-based team, which was quite the change in scale. What hasn’t changed, is his twin passions for watches and cars, as evidenced by his Instagram feed.
Tell us about joining Ressense.
Well, I was asked by Benoît Mintiens, the founder of Ressence, to help him develop as a brand and as a business. Coming from Richemont to a start-up was a real challenge, professionally and personally, but it has been an amazing adventure. From our collaboration with Mr Porter to our presence at SIHH, we’re growing step by step.
What are you working on at the moment?
Growing Ressence in a stable and healthy way is keeping me busy, as we are working on so many projects at the same time. Benoît and I are brainstorming a lot as we want to create our own path in terms of products of course but also on every other aspects of the business. We believe in integrity and creativity. I can’t tell you more unfortunately but you’ll hear from us very very soon. Keep watching!
Do you have any passion projects in the works?
I might have a little something coming as Alpagota one day, but Ressence is currently my priority. Photography is also a passion that I’m lucky enough to satisfy with my job.
We have to ask – what’s the ‘Alpagota’ name all about?
The name is a tribute to my grandfather – he built and ran a major company in the wool industry. The Alpagota is actually a breed of sheep from north-eastern Italy.
What’s your daily watch?
Obviously a Ressence. I juggle between a TYPE 5B prototype and a TYPE 3BB, depending if I’m casual or if I have to suit up. I have some other watches in my humble “collection” but they mainly stay in the safe or sometimes on my wife’s wrist. It’s difficult to explain what you do for a living and not be wearing a Ressence on your wrist. I’ve found myself turning into a salesman even during weddings. I can’t help it! One day though, I’d love to own a vintage Eberhard Contograf or Scafograf.
You travel a lot with work. What does the ideal travel watch look like to you?
Good question. Some would say functional but I would say it needs to be a good conversation starter. Nothing is more boring than waiting alone in airports… and with a Ressence on your wrist you’re never left alone!
Judging by your Instagram feed, you’re as much a fan of automobiles as of watches.
Being a car lover runs in my family blood. We’re all passionate. My grandfather, for instance, was the first man to own a Maserati in Belgium. It’s mainly flat-six or Weber carburettors that get us going – not that I’d hate to have a little something from Gaydon. A used V8 Vantage, for instance, gives you plenty of bang for the buck.
What’s your daily ride?
I’m a city guy and I usually (if it’s not raining) bike to work. I have a Vanmoof, which is quite a cool and innovative Dutch bike. It’s our unofficial company bike, because Benoît sometimes sneaks out on it when he has an appointment in town.
How do you unwind?
In a startup, you have no choice but to work hard. Benoît and I handle everything as we are just two at the moment. It means a lot of long and stressful days. It is sometimes difficult to relax but I manage to do sports and even meditate with my wife. Walking or biking home after work helps me cool off too.