Watches Guide, July-August 2016
Modernity to lead the tradition
The luxury house of watches, Piaget, led by its CEO Philippe Léopold-Metzger, is adopting today a younger profile, taking good care to invest in its technical mastery and historical skills that made its reputation especially with their ultra-thin movements. To learn more about the new trends in particular in the development of jewelry, Prestige met Philippe Léopold-Metzger in the SIHH in Geneva.
We noticed a lot of novelties in this show, changes, a new look, a new vision, a radiance… How do you explain that? As we constantly talk about the DNA of brands, we did some archeology of the brand and went back to 1874 to rediscover our values, regardless of the eras. We found in fact three periods, the first spanning from 1874 to the early 50’s, the second from the 50’s to the purchase of Piaget by a group, and the third extends to our days. We are fortunate to still have Yves Piaget today because it is through him that values are transmitted over the generations. On one side we identified boldness, freedom, this desire to have a happy profile, social, and we could share these properties with others. Our products have the pace, our customers also, which forces us to always do better. We have developed a good concept, for now it is the radiance we wanted to illustrate on the stand, and then through a new communication campaign. It is a way of being, of speaking, of appearing, which will become very significant for the brand.
So you put back concepts that have always existed such pace, radiance. The radiance has always been there but it probably was not well expressed through the brand. The products have always been very beautiful, we are on track to achieve a brand book of 250 pages, which expresses very precisely how to use colors, organize the event…
And how are you going ahead with the products? Do you continue the story you wrote with ultra-thin? The Ultra-thin requires a win-back of the market, which was very important for us to the end of the 60’s. What is important today is the jewelry watches, jewelry that is not present here but becomes an important part of our business. Anyway marketing has become necessary.
You finally have a complication for women, what took you all this time to realize it since Piaget is a watch manufacturer for males and females? We remain quite skeptical about the number of women who would choose a mechanical movement, automatic movement with respect to a quartz movement. For a woman, a watch is a jewel that tells the time, even for men, the watch is a statement that tells the time while in watches we sell only mechanical watches, automatic to men. We preferred to wait to make sure that there is really a greater trend among women. When she enters a boutique, the lady will choose the watch she likes, while the man would like to know the details, the movement of the watch he will offer his wife. Being aware of the demand, we have designed a beautiful complication for women, Limelight Stella.
That’s why you chose Moon Phase? The woman is not looking for a tourbillon movement or a minute repeater, she seeks a statement, an important design, it is true that the Moon phase provides a very feminine side to the watch.
Is the case new? The case is inspired from the model Governeur for man, we named the woman model Stella.
For women also, you like a lot to introduce watchmaking expertise and jewelry know-how, especially with the new Milanese bracelet. We have always mixed the two, today women continue to like gold bracelets, but they require a product that is a little more flexible, lighter, so we realized that the concept of a Milanese bracelet, very fine, very soft, very comfortable to wear, would be perfect for this watch.
For men, the thinnest has always been in the DNA, and now you are in the Concept Watch. The Concept Watch is not a watch for sale, it is a communication tool. Today the situation is different, it is a watch that we launched four years ago, and after reviewing the concept of this movement, we decided to launch this now shows exactly the same, the only difference is in the escapement which is replaced by a generator, or tourbillon, otherwise all is identical. This system ensures high reliability in terms of accuracy and resistance to magnetism, a traditional escapement is extremely sensitive, this one is much more resistant to shocks. It is an innovative technique. We must wake up the industry that is somewhat dormant. Innovations are numerous and this is one more. The next step would be to get to adapt it. In terms of price, it will be the same as the price of a traditional automatic movement. We prefer to first make sure the interest and acceptance of the watch both by an audience of men and women interested in watchmaking. Next year we will celebrate 50 years of Altiplano, we intend to work on fine watches, and ensure that the watch has a very good power reserve. This is a very complex area, so do not sacrifice performance for an extra thinness.
Last word for our readers. The Middle East is one of the markets that we think of developing very fast. We have already completed our shops network. Piaget launched this year a shop in Riyadh, next year in Qatar Villagio. Piaget will also be the main sponsor of Art Dubai. We like to succeed with customers in the Middle East, a demanding clientele of connoisseurs, this is a big challenge for us.
Do you have something specific for Art Dubai? We will have many pieces of their heritage and many new pieces. A balance between tradition and modernity. Interview conducted in Geneva by MARIA NADIM