Piaget’s CEO, Benjamin Comar, sits at the helm of the company at a momentous point in its history, its 150th anniversary. Georges Edouard Piaget set up his workshop in 1874 in the small village of La Côte-aux-Fées in the Swiss Jura mountains. There, Piaget made a name for himself first focusing on manufacturing parts and movements, before crafting his own watches. To kick off the celebration of this milestone anniversary, the brand brings back the unmistakable equestrian chic of the original Piaget Polo, with its trademark gadroons and integrated design in a full-gold attire. The presentation of the model in Gstaad allowed us to sit down with Benjamin Comar, CEO of the brand, to discuss the new Polo 79 and all things Piaget.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – Benjamin thanks for having us. Piaget is celebrating an important milestone this year with its 150th anniversary. What makes the essence of Piaget?
Benjamin Comar, CEO of Piaget – Two moments, now intertwined, encapsulate the essence of the brand. Firstly, there’s the inception of the company in La Cote-aux-Fées 150 years ago when Piaget initially operated as a supplier for third parties. This marked the genesis of our excellence in craftsmanship and watchmaking expertise.
The second defining moment occurred with the establishment of the brand itself, as we transitioned to selling products under our own label. What I find truly remarkable is that instead of opting for the conventional route, focusing solely on classic watches – the easiest path given our expertise in crafting ultra-thin movements – Piaget took a different, daring direction. Consider the brand’s creativity, for example, the hard-stone dials or the watch necklaces, among other creations. It was a genuinely modern and audacious approach.
The Piagets chose to be distinct, to set new trends, fostering a blend of sophistication, boldness, flamboyance, and extravagance. These two moments define Piaget, and it is this unique legacy that we aim to celebrate with our 150th anniversary.
You are kicking off the celebrations of this 150th celebration with a watch that embodies this flamboyance and daring style. Can you tell us about this?
What better way to commence these celebrations than with a timepiece that epitomizes flamboyance and sophistication? The Polo is not just a watch; it’s a fusion of timekeeping and elegance, a true jewel. Striking a perfect balance, it stands out without being ostentatious. Its design seamlessly marries sporty and classic elements, making it suitable for both day and evening wear. The Polo embodies the intrinsic essence of Piaget – it is a masterpiece of Piaget’s alchemy.
The watch is a loyal reissue of the original 1979 Piaget. Yet it has been modernised?
Well obviously time has changed and we have adapted the watch to today’s standards. The Polo was a 34mm quartz watch. We now have a mechanic micro-rotor movement. The size is now 38mm. The water resistance has been improved; we have an exhibition case back… So basically, it is the same spirit, the same style but adapted to today’s world.
Piaget was born as a watchmaking company but has developed this jewellery expertise. How do you balance the two activities today?
We try to balance both activities. In general, we try to be balanced between watches and jewellery. Piaget’s foray into jewellery dates back to its early days, and the Polo serves as a perfect illustration of this legacy. The line’s accessories (for instance the Roger Moore Polo cufflinks) further underscore our commitment to integrating the finest aspects of both realms.
I take immense pride in being part of a company that excels in both domains. There’s a rich narrative to share, from our storied history to the prospects that await us in the future.
The expertise of the brand is unique in the field of ultra-thin and a lot is happening in this field lately. Can we expect new developments in the field soon?
Of course! Ultra-thin is at the core of our expertise. It was a little bit less of a focus for watchmakers for a few years, with even a trend for ultra-thick. But we are very happy to witness the current resurgence of interest in the field of ultra-thin timepieces.
For Piaget, the pursuit of ultra-thin excellence has been a 150-year quest, and it’s great to sense an emulation in the field among watchmakers today. The Polo, featuring an ultra-thin movement, is just a glimpse of what lies ahead. Stay tuned for more innovations!
You are relaunching the Polo 79 in gold. Would it be possible to imagine it in other materials?
Not for the time being. This is of course a possibility but this is too early to say.
What are the main challenges for Piaget as a watchmaker today?
The competition is intense but this is a positive force. We are happy to see that energy and vitality in the industry. What is key is to have your own values, own specificities and make these known. Character and consistency are key. You have to emerge with your true values. This is all the more important that the knowledge and education around watchmaking continue to rise. Authenticity is key.
If you had to pick one Piaget watch?
I am currently wearing the “Warhol” watch. It is a watch I have always loved… I was not sure that watch would suit me but now that I am wearing it, I am truly enjoying it. This said, I am crazy about the Polo 79! It is a superb watch and a pleasure to wear. And the workmanship that goes into it is truly exceptional.
For more information, please visit www.piaget.com