Jure and Peter Malalan: Every Idea Takes Its Time
S: Jure, as a child you used to assemble figurines. Would you say that influenced your interest in horology?
J: When assembling figurines, you have to devote your attention to each and every little detail, from shading to the choice of colours. This process definitely gave me a feeling for detail which I still find useful today.
S: You probably still remember your grandfather’s love for movement repairs?
J: All too well! This is one of my favourite childhood memories and it was him who inspired me to become a watchmaker.
S: Peter, I hear that your father repaired wristwatches all day long every day. What was living with him like?
P: Yes, my father constantly repaired watches and he did this in a very special way. In the shop, when he was constantly receiving customers during the day, he only managed to take the watches apart and clean them. In the evening, he would sit by his desk, listen to the radio, and put them back together.
Our selection of prestigious watchmaking companies was thus built gradually and I can proudly say that this year we acquired the Omega certificate, while we also started a collaboration with the watchmaking and jewellery giant Cartier.
S: Your beginnings, when you moved from Opicina to Ljubljana were rather interesting, weren’t they?
P: In its first years, the store in Ljubljana could have been described as the exhibition window for our store in Opicina. Namely, in Ljubljana we only showcased the collections we sold and then referred our customers to Opicina where they were able to purchase this jewellery. During that time, I discovered that our customers in Ljubljana would need more and more of our services and so I hired the then 19-year old, and now certified Rolex watchmaker Jure Jenko, who is still part of our team.
S: Today, your store is the official service outlet for many prestigious watchmaking brands. How did you get here?
P: When buying a watch at the watchmaker’s a person expects to be offered the comprehensive range of services. This is also required by famous brands and it was completely natural to head in this direction. Our selection of prestigious watchmaking companies was thus built gradually and I can proudly say that this year we acquired the Omega certificate, while we also started a collaboration with the watchmaking and jewellery giant Cartier.
S: Jure, you are the second certified Rolex watchmaker in the Malalan company. What was acquiring the certificate like?
J: The three-week certification in Switzerland was an incredible experience. In fact, during this short time Rolex doesn’t only focus on watch repairs but also introduces its entire company philosophy and all of their processes. I personally loved the rigorousness regarding the comprehensive watch service, which includes everything from the work precision to service procedures.
S: You both share the experience of working with prestigious watches and jewellery in the totally new surroundings of a new city. Peter a few decades ago in Ljubljana and Jure recently in Zagreb. Where do you find similarities, what are the differences?
P: In Ljubljana, we have gotten to know the people relatively quickly and incorporated ourselves into the life of the city, while Zagreb is significantly bigger and needs a little more time since we’ve been present on their market for only a year now.
J: Here the similarities are primarily revealed in the amount of invested effort. Both in Zagreb and in Ljubljana we want to establish the same standards of business and constantly improve the quality of our services, which takes a lot of work.
S: You two probably collaborate a lot in the positioning of your store in the Croatian capital. What is this cooperation like?
P: Jure is in charge of the entire organisation and he also directs the development of the company, and I try to be there for him. I think it’s the right thing for me to not interfere too much, but it must also be completely clear that he can come to me anytime.
J: Absolutely, it would be much harder doing everything without his knowledge. We’re constantly in communication, we exchange ideas, and search for joint solutions to any challenges that arise.
S: Jure, what was the first month of your independent leadership of the company like?
J: Honestly? The start was really interesting, not because I didn’t know what I was doing but mostly because our store was still under construction and I had to be the construction manager more than I was heading the store.
S: You both have to work with different people on daily basis. Which do you think is the character trait that defines a good leader or salesperson?
P: I think that the main trait of a good leader is revealed through understanding, listening to, and respect towards the entire team. They have to know how to get the best from every individual and have a lot of patience to create a team which performs its tasks with love.
J: For salespeople I think it is the profound knowledge and understanding of customers and their wishes.
I think that the main trait of a good leader is revealed through understanding, listening to, and respect towards the entire team.
S: One of you grew up with two brothers, the other one with two sisters. What was your childhood like?
P: I’m the youngest of three brothers and due to the big age difference I was closer to the second son in the family, my brother Milko, with whom I also shared a motorbike, a Harley Davidson 125. When he studied in Tuscany, I drove to him across the Apennines the first day I got my driving licence.
J: When I was a child, I wasn’t just surrounded by my two sisters but also with a number of cousins, while our primary connection was our grandmother. We were driven to school by our grandfather who had a truly tiny car, nevertheless, as many of us had to be at school at the same time, we still crowded in. Since we’re of a similar age, at least one Malalan was in every grade at that time.
You can’t force anything to work immediately and by itself, every project and every idea has to mature.
S: Peter, what is the basic advice you have given Jure about running the store?
P: Primarily, it’s that we should do everything after careful consideration and that everything needs time. You can’t force anything to work immediately and by itself, every project and every idea has to mature.
S: Jure, what was the best instruction you got from your father?
J: Above all, he gave me the desire for the comprehensive excellence of the company: from top-quality products and a sophisticated ambience to the team which in this case stands for the universe of the Malalan company.
S: Peter, the tradition of family jewellery is very strong with you. Does this also include wristwatches?
P: Our family preserves in our possession two timepieces. One is the wall clock by Zenith, which was bought by my parents in Switzerland when my brother studied there, while the second, an IWC Da Vinci perpetual calendar watch was given to my father upon his retirement by his sons. They both carry a great sentimental value for all of us.
S: Could you say that the slogan "We Forge Your Dreams into Eternity" does not only refer to jewellery but also to wristwatches?
P: Absolutely. With watches we want to add our fast lifestyle value and cherish them as the carriers of memories that are preserved from one generation to another.
J: I like to explain this with using the situation when a father wanted to give his son a timepiece for which the son at first didn’t care in the slightest. Yet when I explained to the young man how the watch works, how specific its mechanism is and opened the watch in front of him, he instantly fell in love with it and wears it every single day now to remind him of his father.