by Joanne Chive
As a young boy, Andrew Waldan loved to visit his father at work. When school ended, he happily traded his classroom desk for an executive one, and he even had his own “Vice President’s” office.
As a young man, he still loves going to that office, only now he has a very different title.
Today he is owner and CEO of Waldan International, one of the last independent, privately owned Swiss watch manufacturing companies. His father, Oscar, established the company in 1979, and Andrew took over the family business two years ago. At 23, he is the youngest CEO in the Swiss watch industry.
Andrew was just 10 when his father began teaching him about the business, and the precocious youngster was more than happy to spend his time…. learning about time.
“From when I was a child, my father groomed me to be his successor,” says Andrew. “I attended trade shows in various parts of the world, met his clients and associates in the industry, and he made sure to educate me on the proper code of ethics when it came to running a business.”
While Andrew’s background is impressive, it is his father’s background that really drives the business. Oscar Waldan survived imprisonment in a World War II concentration camp because he learned to repair watches worn by the Germans. After the war, he apprenticed under some of the most prestigious watchmakers in Europe and landed his first job at Charles Tissot in Switzerland. He manufactured luxury timepieces for companies such as Neiman Marcus, Tourneau and Tiffany & Co.
For many years, Oscar shared his business acumen with his son and prepared him to follow in his footsteps. In addition, Andrew was exposed to the retail end of the industry. When his parents divorced, his mother joined the acclaimed watch company Wempe. It was there he ran deliveries, assisted the sales staff, answered phones and learned about packaging and distribution. He was closely mentored by the president of the company, Ruediger Albers.
His extensive experience in the world of manufacturing and commercial retail equipped Andrew to successfully manage his father’s business and expand the company’s foothold across the East Coast over a two-year period. Previously manufacturers only, Andrew used his connections and knowledge to begin a new chapter for Waldan: the manufacture and retail sales of the Waldan International/Oscar Waldan collection. During this period, Waldan acquired distribution in cities such as Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, New York, Charlotte and Newport.
Andrew Waldan has come a long way from the curious boy who used to stop by his father’s office after school, and he knows he has big shoes to fill. “I am proud to watch my father’s company flourish and carry out his vision and legacy. Waldan International has a rich history, and it is rewarding to see that my father’s hard work has paid off.”
For more information about Waldan International, visit waldanwatches.com.