Bedetti, a glittering history

Interview with Marcello Bedetti, from the Bedetti store in Rome specializing in watches and jewellery

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15 May 2014

 

The Dolce Vita was an important period for you. What remains of that time?

That’s right, during the years of the Dolce Vita, our store was popular with personalities such as Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Audrey Hepburn, and all the cinema stars of that time. It even appeared in a film, ‘Il Mattatore’ directed by Dino Risi, starring Vittorio Gassman and Peppino De Filippo. The bars and restaurants that were frequented by the stars are famous still today, and the Oscar-winning film La Grande Bellezza, The Great Beauty, confirms this, the way in which this lifestyle still exists. We liked the film for the photography of the city, and the monuments, many of which are very close to our store.

I suppose that Rome’s constant draw on tourists is important for your business?

Yes, we are close to the city centre, at the centre of a circular walk that connects the principal monuments. We have called this ‘Passeggiate romane,’ Rome walks, inspired by the film Vacanze Romane (Roman Holiday), and it links our products to the monuments. We have chosen seven, including St. Peter’s, the Colosseum, and the Trevi Fountain.

Could you tell us something about your family heritage?

Our business was founded by our great-grandfather, Antonio Bedetti, whose profession was orchestra conductor at Santa Cecilia. But he was a multi-faceted person, and helped design the Water Clock that can still be seen in the Villa Borghese gardens. So one day he decided to open a wholesale store in the late 19th century, at that time dealing with pocket watches, in a location opposite Teatro di Marcello, in Piazza Venezia. Our jewellery production began much later. Antonio’s son Marcello, our grandfather, moved the store to Piazza San Silvestro and worked with watches by brands including Rolex, Omega, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. Jewellery was introduced principally by our father Massimo, who began by working with Italian brands. He studied gemology at GIA, Gemological Institute of America, in Los Angeles and founded IGI, the Italian Institute of Gemology, in the 1980s. He became expert in sourcing diamonds from Antwerp, and coloured stones from Birmania, Thailand and Colombia. So from then on, we specialized in the design and production of our own jewellery. Massimo also had the idea of creating a gemstone showroom on the first floor, where a customer can choose the gemstone that he or she wants.

water clock 2 pasquale sciarretta

Could you tell us about your work on personalizing and customizing jewellery?

Custom jewellery is one of our specialities. We begin with the design phase, and this often includes the input of the client. We are often asked to transform an existing piece that a customer no longer likes, or that has gone out of fashion. We can rework it, making it more contemporary, or more imaginative.

05 Cosmograph Daytona PlatinumI believe that watch brands are becoming more and more selective about their authorized maintenance partners?

That’s right; today, a brand like Rolex has increasingly demanding standards in terms of maintenance expertise, and so we are proud of the fact that we are authorized for maintenance operations on watches by Rolex and other brands that we stock, such as Hublot, Vacheron Constantin, and Baume & Mercier. We have an internal watch workshop, with a master watchmaker who takes the updating courses.