Chabi Nouri sits down with A&E to discuss everything from the story of Piaget in 2019 to the advice she would give her younger self.
Piaget has a clear brand ethos that focuses on happiness and a positive outlook on life. Its “Sunny Side of Life” concept did just this when it was developed in 2016 – injecting happiness into the lives of its customers.
This year, Piaget continues with this theme with a celebration of gold and things that shine. At this year’s SIHH the brand presented its latest novelties in watchmaking including new additions of the Limelight Gala watch and sparkling editions to the Piaget Possession collection.
They also presented a collection of luminous gold pieces that celebrate the allure and elegance of gold, as well as the goldsmithing expertise at the Maison.
The woman behind all of Piaget’s recent developments is Chabi Nouri. Nouri joined Richemont in 1998 and took on the position of CEO in 2017.
Swiss-born Nouri has a strong background in the watches and jewellery business and has worked to redevelop Piaget’s image and reposition the brand since taking on the role. For our first interview with Chabi we met at SIHH 2019, where she talked us through the newest novelties and shed light on what we can expect to see in the coming year.
What is the story that Piaget is telling in 2019?
We started a great story of “The Sunny Side of Life” a few years ago that had a very positive and playful spin. We were inspired by a lot of the elements that made up Piaget’s history and part of this was a positive outlook on the world. We felt that it was also the right moment for Piaget to present a fresh new look and new novelties and that was also where we started to accelerate the development of jewellery.
We are one of the rare Maisons that has both watches and jewellery and we are very proud of that, so we definitely needed to make sure everyone knew that we have an amazing history in watchmaking, but that we are also very strong in jewellery. Both together make up the heart of Piaget. The beauty is that there is a fusion between these two worlds and today we continue with that.
We have a very special booth here (at SIHH) to express that. We want to showcase the freshness and something very modern but still keep a very refined exclusivity. This year we continue with that and we are also expressing the key message of Piaget which is watchmaking and gold crafting. This year is the year of gold and shine and putting in the forefront all of our gold expertise and you will see that across all the collections.
What can you tell us about the Piaget Society?
The Piaget Society is a true community that actually existed. One of the founding family members Mr Yves G. Piaget started it in the 1950s. He gathered all these people who had a certain passion for art and beauty and brought them together to have good and authentic times.
We wanted to make sure that this was continuing to exist so we have recreated the society and have really put it in the forefront. Today it’s a gathering of people that have the same passion for beauty, watches and jewellery and we are all in a way part of this Piaget community and that makes up the Piaget Society.
What challenges do you face as a brand today?
It’s probably to have more people knowing that we have this legitimacy. Piaget has gone through different times and when we have the chance to showcase what we have and give people an understanding of what we do, we have a perfect match that’s usually very positive. That is in a way the beauty of having both jewellery and watches but it also makes it a challenge but an interesting and exciting project.
What do you think are the prerequisites to creating an object of desire today?
I think first of all you have to be true to what the brand is about because it’s important that it really matches Piaget’s values. I think today we really want to tell the truth and tell not only authentic stories but also the history. With Possession and Limelight Gala it was exactly that and that’s why it was such a success because they took the values of the brand – playful, unique, distinctive and sharing joy. Uniqueness is a key element – we all want to be a bit different and express our own identity and for that you need to have things that are not all the same. I think Possession and Limelight Gala are exactly these type of pieces.
The Gala watch has a very distinctive design and it has a lot of the Piaget elements. So this year we have novelties that are in a way even more exclusive and refined with bigger stones – almost 5-carats on the watch – and we have a special opening gem setting that allows the light to come into play even more with the diamonds so it really sparkles. We also have another novelty that has the same case but also plays with all the gold and craftsmanship that we know how to master and the malachite diamond which is the perfect beauty.
It is the same with Possession. It’s a combination of gold and hard stones which is part of Piaget’s DNA and I think as long as you’re strict to that and stay close to what you are, as long as the beauty is there it will work. So these are the key elements for me and we still have a lot of space to get there. Piaget is already a big key player but we still have a way to go and we know how much the Middle East region is important for that. The relationship we have with the region has always been very special and historic and today we know that the region is always welcoming our novelties and I think we are very excited about that.
What are we expecting to see in 2019 for the high jewellery collection?
You can expect continuity in the theme that we used because we really want the brand to have an overall message of “The Sunny Side of Life”. So we will continue working on these aspects. It’s a different part of the world that we will be showcasing in the collection. We will continue with very colourful pieces. We have a very strong love for green and we always have a lot of amazing emeralds so we will continue with that. We are colourful and we will continue with asymmetrical and fluid designs.
You will see stunning jewellery watches and we are also revealing a new gold design which is a snakeskin type design. This is a work that we have done with hand-graving. It is done by someone who has a special artistic hand. We try to have full integration between the dial and the bracelet.
What would you tell your younger self?
To do what I have done in terms of always being true to myself – that’s probably what I have done the best. I have never tried to be someone else and I’ve always respected everyone. This is something that I want to continue doing.
What do you say no to?
Authenticity is something that is really important to me. What I say no to is hypocrisy or something that isn’t genuine.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Personally, it would be my family. I’m super proud of my kids – do I do the best? I don’t know, but I’m super proud. On the professional side, whenever I see someone happy because of Piaget, this is probably what we celebrate the most internally, as well as having people happy at work. This is very important to me.
What is the motto that you live by?
Never fear anything.
What book are you currently reading?
Funnily I never really liked novels but the last novels I read were by Joël Dicker who is one of our ambassadors and a very talented man. Usually, I read more biographies or historical books.
If you had to choose a favourite stone what would it be?
From my childhood memories it would definitely be topaz, but today if I had to choose it would be emerald.
How would you like the world to remember you?
As a lively and nice person.
How would you describe Piaget in one phrase?