June 5, 2014

Time management

The St. Regis Bal Harbour’s Marco Selva on the qualities a luxury hotel and a fine Swiss watch have in common.

After more than 20 years in the luxury hospitality industry, Marco Selva knows a thing or two about great service. And as a lifelong watch enthusiast, the general manager of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort believes it mostly boils down to timing. “Funny enough, every time I open a hotel, I always relate it to a watch,” he says. “If one piece of a watch isn’t moving at the precise speed, it’s going to be five minutes off. In a hotel, all the different departments need to perform at the right time to deliver the right experience.” Selva spoke to INDULGE about the watches in his current collection, the model he hopes to pass on to his future daughter and how fine Swiss timepieces offer the perfect excuse for male bonding.

How would you describe your interest in watches?

I don’t know if I consider myself a collector but I am very passionate about watches and have been since I was very young. They represent who you are, so I always look for timepieces that are relaxed luxury, not very formal.

What do you own at the moment?

I have three watches now. I used to have more but I downsized. I have a Franck Muller Casablanca that I bought at Levinson Jewelers. The craftsmanship is phenomenal, yet it’s very modern looking. It goes really well with suits. On weekends, I like to be a little more casual and rugged. I have a special edition Panerai Luminor on a rubber strap with deployment buckle. I bought it about seven years ago at a little hole in the wall that only local Miami people know: Robin in the Grove.

And what’s the third?

That’s a Patek Philippe Calatrava that I bought 18 or 20 years ago in Geneva. It’s formal, so I only use it for special occasions. I have owned Cartiers and Jaegers [Jaeger-LeCoultre], but over time, the only one I have kept is the Patek Philippe. It’s one of those pieces that when I was young I always wanted to have. I’m planning on giving it to my daughter. She’s not born yetbut I hope she doesn’t mind wearing a man’s watch!

What is it you love about watches?

As a man, there are very few ways in which you can showcase who you are. And a watch is one of them. I love cufflinks and every day of the week I wear French cuffs, but a watch is the first thing that comes to mind. It represents how I see business. It’s about craftsmanship, a legacy, authenticity. It’s about creating things that feel right—that feel luxurious but at the same time relaxed.

Do you think your guests notice what’s on your wrist?

Yes, I think they do. Men don’t know how to pay compliments to other men, but the one thing I think men feel comfortable giving compliments on is a watch. They’re not going to say, ‘I love your tie,’ but with a watch it’s kind of okay. Men love to take their watches off and give them to other men to try on. At dinner, it’s like, here we go, and everyone’s straps come off. —VG

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