By Michelle Graff
Robert “Bob” Sears Siragusa, who brought Swiss watch brand Maurice Lacroix to the United States, has passed away from complications related to COVID-19.
Los Angeles—Robert “Bob” Sears Siragusa, a beloved industry veteran who served as the president of Maurice Lacroix U.S.A., died over the weekend from complications related to COVID-19 after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

He was 72.

One of his two sons, Brent Siragusa, confirmed his passing in a Facebook post on Saturday, writing: “It’s with deep sadness that we have to report to our family and friends that our dad, loving husband, father, and grandfather, Bob Siragusa, has left our earth.”

Siragusa started off on the jewelry side of the business, founding jewelry manufacturer Aurion International in the mid-1980s before switching to the job for which he was perhaps most well-known—president of Maurice Lacroix U.S.A.

“Bob was an industry veteran who was between jobs when he came across a watch brand he immediately fell in love with. Maurice Lacroix had no distribution in the United States, and Bob was convinced they needed to be here,” jeweler and American Gem Society president John Carter wrote on the AGS Facebook page.

So, Carter wrote, Siragusa convinced the Swiss family who owned the watch brand to take a chance on the U.S. market despite a recent spate of bankruptcies. They did, and he built a “very successful” brand here.

Then 24 years old and fresh out of college, Carter worked under Siragusa as a traveling salesman for Maurice Lacroix for five years.

He said Siragusa taught him how to be a mentor, as well as the customer service skills he still uses today as owner of Jack Lewis Jewelers in Bloomington, Illinois.

“He was just the best boss that a young person could have asked for because he gave me freedom but also gave me guidance,” Carter said in an interview with National Jeweler Tuesday. “He really showed me how a boss should be, how you should mentor people.

“He personally meant very much to me.”

After Maurice Lacroix, Siragusa worked alongside jewelry designer Michael Beaudry to create his eponymous company’s watch division, Beaudry Time, serving as its president for two years before retiring from the industry around 2010.

Beaudry said he will be missed by many.

“He was so passionate about developing fine timepieces and enjoyed nothing more than going to Basel and seeing all of his friends and colleagues,” the designer wrote in an email.

Siragusa was also a proponent of the American Gem Society, and when the organization relocated from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, he was among the donors who sponsored one of the monuments constructed outside AGS headquarters.

“Each time I visit, I make sure to touch the one from Bob and Maurice Lacroix, and it makes me smile every time,” Carter wrote.

Siragusa is survived by his wife, Renee Bersen Siragusa; two sons, Brent and Logan Siragusa; and grandchildren.

In his Facebook post, Brent said the family hopes to be able to gather to celebrate their patriarch’s life “all in good time. We thank you for your support then, now, and going forward.”

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Siragusa’s name to The Alzheimer’s Association, Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles or charity of the donor’s choosing.

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