News • 27 Jan 2019
Piaget’s Tropical Switzerland
Last week I found myself sipping blueberry smoothies by the beach in the middle of Geneva. Surprisingly enough, despite having flown for almost 24 hours to get there, the above situation wasn’t some intense jet-lag induced hallucination. Geneva really did (for a moment) feel tropical.
Having come from Australia, I’d left behind real beaches and real summer. But to the credit of the folks at Piaget, it didn’t really feel like I’d left much behind upon entering their SIHH booth. The amount of sand they’d wheeled in was quite impressive. Impressive to the point where my shoes – sand-filled – were squelching, as I walked to my next appointment. Trust the Australian to take a short-cut across the indoor beach, while everyone else followed the clearly marked path.
It can feel a little gloomy during those winter months in Geneva, but Piaget does an admirable job of making your day feel just a bit more colourful. There’s a sunniness, a fondness for colour and willingness to innovate that goes to the core of the brand. This has its roots in the brand’s origins (read below) and nowadays largely manifests itself in their “Sunny Side of Life” global campaign. Intended to capture the radiance of summer and all the colour and optimism we tend to associate it with, the “Sunny Side” made Geneva, in the dead of winter, feel radiant. That’s not a bad achievement.
A History of Radiance
Piaget belongs to that rare cadre of watchmakers who are equally competent in both the technical aspects of watchmaking as well as the aesthetic elements, namely gem-cutting and gem-setting.
The founder, Georges-Édouard Piaget, set up shop on the family farm in La Côte-aux-Fées in 1874. Running by his own philosophy of “Always do better than necessary”. It’s that commitment that led the manufacture in the 1920s to expand beyond watch movements and components and begin production of luxury timepieces. Under the leadership of his son, Timothée Piaget, the brand became synonymous with elegance and accuracy. Fast forward to 1945, the third generation of the Piagets (Gérald and Valentin Piaget) built on Georges original motto, operating under the guiding principle of “do what has never been done before”. Piaget watches during the late ’40s gained worldwide acclaim for their focus on quality, artistry and funky shapes.
Over the years, the brand has charmed many personalities of great allure, including Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Their creations have reached a level of inventiveness and execution that has become art. So, it was only natural that Piaget would form fruitful relationships with artists such as Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol.
For more on Piaget
If you’d like to read more, I recommend this book.