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OUR HISTORY

Delve into our History and discover how we became what we are today and what we will become

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ONCE UPON A TIME

The Oasis of Bernardini

Max Bernardini and his father Franco created a unique high-end environment to host the finest maisons that have always been considered the best expression of excellence and elegance. The "Bernardini Milano" store features today some of the most exclusive vintage trunks and luxury accessories signed by Hérmes, Louis Vuitton, Goyard and Gucci, along with one of a kind vintage timepieces by Patek Philippe, Rolex and Cartier and many others. A great passion for luxury accessories and a loving attention for the most exquisite designs and materials of the first decades of the 20th Century led Bernardini in 2004 to take a new direction in addition to watches: luxury vintage. The store, located in the heart of Milan next to Leonardo's "Last supper", has become a real temple of elegance, and an international reference for collectors, experts and amateurs.

1982

The Beginning

In 1982, Franco Bernardini embarked on a new venture as a collector and dealer of vintage jewelry. This was a significant shift from his previous career in finance. He began by acquiring a carefully selected collection of Art Deco jewelry and expanded his collection in London. That summer marked the foundation of his store in Milan, located near the historic Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Bernardini meticulously set up his shop, which was originally a small space in Via Caradosso, used as a warehouse.

late 1980's

Max brings timepieces

The late 1980s brought another critical development when Franco's son, Massimo, joined the business. Massimo, often referred to as Max, infused the company with fresh vigor and expertise, especially in the wristwatch department. His involvement was transformative, steering the business towards brands like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Rolex, with a focus on models featuring complications. This period marked a generational shift and a significant enhancement of the business's portfolio.

1999

Max takes over

By 1999, Bernardini's business had evolved significantly. His son, Massimo, displayed exceptional commercial acumen, surpassing even Franco's abilities. This year marked the transition of the individual enterprise into a corporate entity named Bernardini S.r.l. – specializing in vintage jewelry and collectible watches. Franco, with his wealth of professional experience, took on a role focusing on the administrative, financial, and managerial aspects of the new company, becoming a minority partner and general attorney.

2004

The Store expands

In 2004, the business expanded further with the acquisition of an adjacent space, increasing the showroom area substantially. This growth posed a challenge: how to effectively utilize the increased space. Massimo introduced creative solutions, such as displaying vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, which also led to an unexpected diversification into the customization of these trunks for decorative home use.

2013

The store expands once again

The year 2013 saw another expansion, with the annexation of a shop on Corso Magenta, connected internally to the original store. This addition enhanced the company's offerings, particularly in the realm of 20th-century signature objects. The firm's team grew, and the range of languages spoken in the store broadened, reflecting the international clientele.

2015

Bernardini takes on Hong Kong

The year 2015 marked a significant milestone in the expansion of the Bernardini business with the opening of a new store in Hong Kong. This strategic move represented the company's foray into the Asian market, an acknowledgment of the region's growing importance in the luxury goods sector, and its role as a hub for collectors and enthusiasts of vintage jewelry and collectible watches. The Hong Kong store brought Bernardini's distinctive blend of exquisite craftsmanship, historical richness, and Italian elegance to a new audience, further enhancing the brand's international presence and reputation. This expansion reflected the company's ongoing commitment to global growth and its ability to adapt to diverse markets while maintaining the quality and heritage that had become synonymous with the Bernardini name.

2018

Founder's retreat

In 2018, Franco Bernardini made the decisive step of selling his shares of the company to his son Max. This move was in line with his long-held belief in paving the way for the younger generation. Franco officially retired, marking the end of an era and the full transfer of the business's leadership to Massimo.

2022

historical activity recognition

By 2022, Bernardini's store received recognition as a historic business, a testament to its longstanding presence and contribution to the cultural and commercial landscape of Milan. This accolade highlighted the journey of Franco Bernardini from a young man arriving in Turin in 1965 with a job at Banco di Roma to establishing a niche, a successful business in Milan, and passing the legacy to his son.

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Before/after

A change in time

Before

After