As one of the oldest luxury brands in the world Piaget has successfully engaged global audiences on its history and heritage but also on its current position as a timeless yet somehow modern watch and jewellery maker.
Benjamin Comar, Piaget CEO
As one of the few brands that are strong in both jewellery and watches, the challenge is to successfully balance these two segments and build on them moving forward. This year at Watches and Wonders Piaget launched the latest interpretation of its Limelight Gala. A timepiece that transcends the worlds of watches and jewellery. The new Limelight Gala High Jewellery watch and Limelight Gala Precious, are two new exception additions to this iconic line and further connect the brand’s watch and jewellery segments.
Benjamin Comar joined Piaget as CEO in 2021 and has been tasked with preserving and promoting the brand’s long history and aligning on a clear message moving forward. With a vast background in the luxury industry, Comar is just the man for the job. In one of the first face-to-face events since the beginning of the pandemic, we find out more about the current vision for the Maison and the challenges that are yet to be overcome.
What is your vision and direction for Piaget moving forward?
Piaget is a magnificent brand. What I want to do is to adjust things to be back to what I think is the true DNA of the brand. For me this DNA is focused around two great periods: firstly, the birth of the company in 1874 when we were making watch movements, and fighting to create quality, elegant watches. This priority to always have a fighting spirit to be the best is what I want to bring back. Then the second period that I think was a key moment for the company worldwide was the fifties, sixties, and seventies. At that point Piaget had guts as it was creating watches with colourful dials, hard stones, necklaces with watches, and all this in Geneva; a city that was very conservative at the time. And this is I think, why we have been so successful around the world where people are looking for something creative and new. We have this combination of elegance and extravagance and that’s what we must focus all our direction and communication on moving forward.
When a Maison is creating both jewellery and watches, sometimes the message can get confusing – how do you balance maintaining both in their own spheres and continue to move forward strongly and ensure you are relevant for today’s consumer?
Yes, I agree the message can be confusing sometimes. But there are a lot of brands today that do multiple products. I think it offers an opportunity to showcase what we do and highlight our creativity and diversity. We have created jewellery since 1959, it’s not something new for us and I think it offers us a chance. We are a watchmaker but we offer an entire universe and we are very proud of that. What I think was probably confusing was that some of our communication may have been too diverse and there was a big variation between the two worlds. Our watches are jewels with watch movements which is fantastic for a watchmaker and this is what I want to highlight in terms of our communication moving forward.
What can you tell us about the latest Limelight Gala watch you have launched this year?
For me, the Limelight Gala is the quintessence of jewellery watches. Next year it will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary and it doesn’t look a day over 20! It’s a timeless watch. The new editions represent a lot of things around the image of Piaget – the elegance and the extravagance – it possesses both characteristics. It is instantly recognisable because of its unique shape and the range of stones is a very special point for us. We have a great gemmology team who find the stones as it is very difficult to find the same grading of gems. Then the dial is a tribute to some of the watches in our archives. And then we have the savoir-faire of this which I think is magical in this watch and highlights the skills of our artisans. Everything is done by hand and that is the magic of this watch.
What is the biggest challenge that you face today?
There are always challenges, that’s why we are in the luxury business and that’s why we love it! I have the challenge to give a clear, consistent, and long-term image for the brand and try to focus on our strategy and not variate from that. I think in the Middle East we are already doing that very well. Piaget is doing great in the region and the level of savviness of the customers there is incredible. Our customers stay with us for a long time, and they are very loyal.
Speaking of the Middle East what is in the pipeline for Piaget in the region?
Obviously, we have increased our footprint in the region a lot in the past year. We have opened new boutiques in Saudi Arabia, we are opening a new boutique in Doha and then we have many projects to increase growing our footprint there as we have had great success so far. We have a great retail network in the region we want to further develop this moving forward.
What is in the pipeline for the brand in all categories?
I would like to introduce more bridges between our categories – in aesthetics but also in pricing and communication. I like the Polo watch as it is the first time, we have combined men, ladies, steel, gold, watches, and jewellery into one product. And what we need to do is make bridges between the positioning of our products so that people understand our offering better, and they can jump from one to the other more easily. Most importantly, every product must express the brand and our creativity and know-how. That’s our challenge.
What is something you would change at Piaget?
It would be the communication and the way we share the message of Piaget. We have great products that are very successful, but the focus now should be to communicate the overall message of Piaget in everything that we do.
What can you tell us about the upcoming high jewellery collection?
We are revisiting the Sunny Side of Life concept but moving forward we do need to look at other areas too. It’s a happy, shining brand so it wasn’t a mistake to have a collection based around the sun, but I think we have to come back to our routes and our DNA and this is the long term plan. The development of a jewellery collection can take between two to three years, so we have plenty of time. We want to reiterate Piaget’s signature in high jewellery and ensure that the message is constant and that we focus on the route of Piaget rather than a marketing concept. We are in an emotional business and that’s what I love.
What is a message you would send our readers and your fans in the Middle East?
I hope you continue to like Piaget, that is the best gift you can give us. It is great for us to see you liking the brand and challenging the brand to make it better. So please continue so we can always do better.