nterest in watches is growing among a wider – and younger – audience. Andrea Casalegno, who this year joined the GPHG Academy as a new member, is living proof. An entrepreneur in watch communication through his @iamcasa Instagram account, this loquacious and multilingual Italian, born in 1998 in Milan, is determined to share his passion for an industry with which he is already more than familiar.
“I’ve been in the watch sphere for a good nine years now,” he says. “I caught the bug from looking at the watches my family collected and soon became interested in mechanisms. My first watch was a vintage 1950s Omega De Ville that needed servicing. That’s how I came to know the Fontana family and their fabulous shop in Milan, which is a treasure trove for anyone who loves beautiful watches. They took me to my first Baselworld, in 2015.”
His passion has only grown over time. “I love the stories behind the watches; the human dimension that makes this industry what it is.” As proof of this, he set up the Milan chapter of the RedBar collectors’ club and regularly hosts events with other watch enthusiasts. After earning an engineering degree from the Politecnico di Milano in 2021, Andrea is now a digital and visual communication consultant for brands as well as a contributor to various publications.
- Andrea Casalegno
He is delighted to be joining the GPHG Academy and is typically enthusiastic about his new role. “It was a genuine surprise and an honour for me to be chosen. The GPHG has no equivalent and the Grand Prix is the industry’s top competition, recognised the world over. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works from the inside and I feel very fortunate to be part of the selection process.”
“I’ve submitted my initial suggestions for the different categories. It’s a complex process but it’s also an opportunity to introduce the public to new and smaller brands, which is the main reason I’m in the industry.” Clearly, Andrea takes his mission very seriously. “It took me several days to reach my final selection. I wanted it to be diverse and to include watches that are relevant to me but also to the wider public. I can’t wait to see who makes the shortlist.”
Asked about any trends he’s spotted so far this year, he answers off the bat, like the veteran he already is: “Diameters are definitely smaller this year, which is perfect for someone like me with slim wrists. Colours are brighter. There’s a lot of pink, for example. The independents are going from strength to strength. One thing that really made an impression on me during Watches and Wonders was the sheer number of young people, everywhere! This proves that younger generations are becoming more and more interested in quality watches, which is excellent news for the industry.”
Dare we ask who we might expect to see at this year’s Grand Prix? As a GPHG Academy member, he won’t be drawn on the subject: “There are several impressive contenders and some very interesting challengers. We’ll just have to wait and see. I am hoping that younger brands will also be singled out for awards!”
As an official media partner of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), in each issue we’re featuring portraits of the members of its Academy, who are tasked with selecting watches for the competition and voting for the winners. More in the next episode!