It has been about five years since Piaget had a store on Rodeo Drive. But the luxury watch and jewelry brand based in Geneva is back on the high-end Beverly Hills shopping street with a recently opened boutique.
Piaget’s chief executive officer, Benjamin Comar, was in town for the opening of the outpost, located at 465 North Rodeo Drive, across the street from the Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani stores.
Piaget, which in the past has counted on purchases by free-spending tourists to boost its bottom line, is readjusting its business model to cultivate residents to shop the nearly 150-year-old label.
“Maybe we were too much oriented on the tourist in the past,” said Comar, who has been with the company nearly one year. “We are building a great regional network, and this boutique is an example of that — to cater to local clients.”
The store’s front has a shimmery gold facade reminiscent of the Milanese mesh that Piaget artisans weave into bracelets and bands. The interior will soon have an interactive display where shoppers can learn about Piaget and choose a watch to try on. They can interact with the screen using a phone and can take a photo of their chosen watch and share it online.
To celebrate the store opening, Piaget created a special high jewelry collection currently displayed only at the Beverly Hills store. Called “Magic Hour,” the necklace, ring and earrings take their color scheme and inspiration from the expansive California sky and the Pacific Ocean.
The jewelry pieces are done in varying shades of blue and white, using sapphires, aquamarines and diamonds.
The boutique will also integrate art into its shopping experience. Three rotating art exhibits, done in partnership with the RAD agency, which pairs creative talent with brands, will be shown. The first installation features modern pop artist Alia Penner, whose paintings are an homage to Hollywood’s silent film era and will be on display through May.
Comar said Piaget is a strong believer in retail stores. It is looking at other U.S. cities in Texas and Florida to set up boutiques beyond its store at Hudson Yards in New York City, its boutique at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., and locations inside various Saks Fifth Avenue doors.
Piaget’s strongest markets are in Asia and the Middle East, followed by Europe and the U.S. Right now, about 40 percent of Piaget’s points of sale in China are closed due to the pandemic lockdown, Comar said. But Piaget has a large store opening soon on Canton Road in Hong Kong.
E-commerce sales are still not a huge percentage of sales, though Net-a-porter and Mr Porter are authorized online Piaget dealers.
Instead, physical stores remain key. “Retail is still an experience,” said Comar, who came to Piaget from Repossi where he was the CEO of the Italian jewelry house headquartered in Paris. “You want to have a great experience when you buy a product. In Russia, most of our sales are in retail. People like to come in and have a coffee or a glass of champagne and have a chat. It is not only about buying a product but buying a brand. That is why we are happy to open this store.”