The In Thing

The In Thing

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 In a conversation with Mitrajit Bhattacharya, the CEO of Piaget, Philippe Leopold-Metzger, says the brand believes in sticking to Ultra-thins

This year has seen some excellent launches from your end, including the Ultra-thins. Could you please give us a bit of the history behind the Ultra-thins?
In 1957 we came out with the very first thin movement, a manual winding watch called the 9P. Then in 1960, we obtained the world record for the thinnest automatic watch, the 12P. Later, it became the brand’s philosophy to incorporate the thins, whenever possible. And, if you look at the history of quartz movements, at one stage we went with the 7P, which was the thinnest quartz movement.

What does a modern Piaget brand value stand for, as you have everything from the mechanical high-end watches to jewellery watches?
I think it stands for balance. What we believe is in legitimacy and heritage. Basically, we have this legitimacy as a watchmaker and also as a jeweller dating back from the early 60s, when we bought a lot of workshops in Geneva. And we’re not ready to choose one over the other, as the philosophy of the brand is exclusivity. So, with the exception of the Polo 45 Flyback Chronograph watch in titanium, we do every watch in gold. On the men’s side, what we’re going to be looking at primarily is elegance and refinement. On the ladies’ side, we are going to have more creativity, innovation and glamour.

The Piaget Polo 45 Flyback Chronograph was a very bold step from Piaget. How did the market react?
We are very happy with the feedback we have recieved, which is the reason why today we are expanding with a totally different dial. It’s also the reason why we decided to do a model for women. Though it is only in gold, I think people have been very receptive to the aesthetics in the watch.

This year you’ve had multiple launches. If you’ve to highlight that one key launch, what would it be?
It’s clearly the Altiplano 43 mm on the men’s side. And on the ladies’ side it has to be the Magic Hour in the old diamond-set version, which is extremely challenging from a technical point of view.

Can you elaborate on the Time Gallery concept?
The Piaget Time Gallery in Geneva showcases Piaget’s history from 1874 to the present day. It is located just above our own boutique. Visitors can go through both historical documents and antique pieces. Designed by Gerard Barrau, who is also responsible for Piaget’s boutique concepts worldwide, this gallery is but the first of its kind.

You have one in Shanghai as well, right?
Yes. Whenever we have big stores, we keep the ground floor for trading and use the upper floor to show a part of our history. We do thematic collections, which go from one place to the other. We started with Geneva in June 2008, in June 2009 we opened in Hong Kong, and in December 2009 we opened in Shanghai, and we will continue do to so.

What’s your take on India as a market?
It will definitely grow, provided the government is a bit more forceful in lowering the duties. Because of huge taxes, people are forced to buy elsewhere. The rich buy while travelling abroad since that saves them quite a bit of money. We’re going to reach out to Indians who buy at prime locations like London.