By  on October 7, 2010

Piaget is opening its first flagship in London Friday, in a2,400-square-foot space on Bond Street.

The store will be amongPiaget’s largest, although there are plans to open a slightly biggerboutique in the spring in Hong Kong.

“We don’t like thosemegastores…the objective is to make it welcoming,” said PhilippeMetzger, chief executive officer.

Despite the economic downturn,the fine jeweler has spent the last few years in expansion mode, and has71 doors internationally, including Paris, New York and Tokyo.

Metzgercredited Piaget’s global presence with providing a strong foundationduring the recession. “We paid for the last 10 years and investedmassively in Asia.… This investment is paying off today. It’s a matterof capitalizing on the success of the brand in Asia. We’re lucky in away — even when there’s a recession, the brands that are really on toptend to survive.”

Bond Street is home to competitors such asTiffany & Co., Chopard and Asprey, and Metzger said the neighborhoodis well-suited to the positioning of Piaget, which is owned byCompagnie Financière Richemont.

“The rule says it’s always‘location, location, location,’ and this is one of the best locations…weknew we’d have to be there, whatever the cost,” Metzger said. “Are yougoing to fish where there are few fish and no fishermen, or where thereare lots of fish and lots of fishermen…in London there is noalternative.”

The interior of the flagship was designed by Frencharchitect Gérard Barrau, who has worked with Piaget for the lastdecade. The goal of the design, which has an emphasis on wood and glass,was to “keep it more modern…but to try to make it inviting and cozy,”Metzger said.

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