Juan Diego Flórez is one of the most celebrated and beloved opera singers of his generation. His fluid, expressive singing and virtuosity have made him the tenor of choice for the world’s leading opera houses. Flórez began singing and playing Peruvian folk and pop music at an early age, but his training and the effortless beauty of his voice soon led him to opera. He bought his Rolex in the midst of a skyrocketing career and it has brought him an immense amount of luck and some surprises along the way.
In 2003, a lot of things were falling in the right place for me and my Rolex is a witness for that. I had just turned 30, I was singing great operas and I had a lot of success in my professional life. A few days after I bought this watch, I met my wife Julia when I was signing autographs after a performance of La Sonnambula in Vienna. From that moment on we started to travel the world together.
We arrived in New York in 2011 because I had to do a very demanding Rossini opera called Le Compte Ory at the Metropolitan Opera which would be broadcast in cinemas to millions of people around the world. At the time, my wife Julia was eight months pregnant. Some days before, I remember going to the belly of my wife, telling my son, “Please, be born any day you want, but don’t be born on the 9th of April,” because the main performance was on that date at 1 p.m.
On the 8th of April at 11 p.m., Julia started having contractions. We planned a home birth at the apartment we rented in New York so at six in the morning, I called the midwife to come to the house because the contractions started to get closer and closer. Since my wife had to be calm and concentrate on the birth, we shut off all the phones in the apartment. My Rolex played a very important role during this birth as it was my only ally to tell me the time. It was keeping track of everything, the birth of my son and the performance at the same time. I was always looking at my watch and thinking, “I still have time.” The watch was my eye. It was my friend, my secret friend. I was very calm but also very alert at the same time.
The watch was my eye. It was my friend, my secret friend. I was very calm but also very alert at the same time.
At exactly 12:26 p.m, Leandro was born and after ten minutes of bonding I finally said, “I have to get going, I have to sing!” I ran to the opera, always keeping track of time with my Rolex. When I arrived at the Met exactly 13 minutes before the performance, I heard the substitute tenor warming up because they couldn’t reach me. I was so happy that I was shouting, “I am a father! My son was born!” Even the presenter heard me so she announced it to the audience and everybody who was watching the broadcast around the world. This is how my family in Peru and my friends in Europe first found out, while watching the broadcast in the cinema. In the end, I think we started five minutes late and even though I didn't sleep at all the night before, it was one of the best performances I had because I had happiness and adrenaline to sell! Everything came together on that day: singing, the opera, the birth, the broadcast. It gave me a special memory that I will treasure my whole life.
Everything came together on that day: singing, the opera, the birth, the broadcast. It gave me a special memory that I will treasure my whole life.
My perception of time has changed since having kids. Nothing is more important anymore than my family, they are the center of my life. I design my calendar thinking about my family, when will I see them, not to miss important events. My priorities have shifted, I’m much more relaxed and my Rolex always reminds me of that. A watch is a very emotional and personal possession because you also experience many moments alone with it, not only professional ones but also personal moments. I think that’s why a watch becomes a part of you. When I look at my Rolex I see not only the day I met my wife and the birth of my son Leandro, I see touching performances and recitals, I see vacations with my family and great friendships. I see happiness.