Byline: K.P.

NEW YORK — Gerald Piaget, who died April 12 in Areuse in his native Switzerland, was remembered Friday as a dynamic executive in the luxury watch business.
Piaget, who headed the Geneva-based Piaget watch company for approximately 35 years, was 80 years old.
His grandfather, Georges Piaget, started watchmaking in 1874, but it wasn’t until the Forties that the family firm began producing Piaget brand watches, which became known for their slim and elegant silhouettes for women. Gerald Piaget and his brother Valentin assisted their father, Timothee Piaget, in promoting the brand.
A book entitled, “Piaget Watches and Wonders,” published in 1995 by Abbeville Press, noted that Gerald Piaget traveled much in the Forties, promoting the watches. In 1944, he was named general manager of the company, and in 1945 he became president.
In an interview Friday, Gedalio Grinberg, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Movado Group Inc., the exclusive distributor of Piaget in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, recalled first meeting Piaget in 1961.
“We worked together for 26 years. He and his brother built a very good company,” Grinberg said. “Gerald surrounded himself with very good associates. He had energy, and he knew how to manage and build a team.”
“Piaget Watches and Wonders” also noted that Piaget traveled not only to sell the Piaget products, but to make connections with people and places who could best help to create a prestigious distribution network for the brand.
Piaget turned the reins of the company over to his son, Yves Piaget, in 1981. In 1988, the company was acquired by the South African firm Richemont Securities and now is part of Richemont’s majority-owned operation, Vendome Luxury Group.