Byline: Georgia Lee

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. — As part of a five-year retail expansion plan, luxury watch and jewelry firm Piaget has opened its second U.S. store at the upscale Bal Harbour Shops.
The new 800-square-foot unit is about half the size of its Fifth Avenue flagship in New York. Chairman Yves Piaget’s recent appearance at the new store attested to the importance of retail expansion for the company.
“We’re looking at prestigious locations like Bal Harbour, which is one of the most impressive centers in the world,” said Piaget. “There are less than 10 areas in the U.S., such as Rodeo Drive and Worth Avenue, where our stores would make sense.”
Piaget, whose great-grandfather started the Swiss watch company in 1874, added that the Miami store would allow further penetration in Latin American markets, where the brand is already appreciated. A print advertising campaign is extending its reach to include local Latin publications such as Selecta.
In addition to the U.S. stores, Piaget wants to double its current count of 20 international locations in Europe, South Korea and Hong Kong.
In the store, light poplar wood fixtures contrast with blue lacquer and carpeting and white limestone. It will carry the full product line, which includes watches and a growing assortment of jewelry now representing 35 percent of total sales.
Piaget, a division of the Vendome Luxury Group, is located next door to Hermes and near its Vendome cousins Van Cleef & Arpels, which opened earlier this year, and Cartier, one of Bal Harbour’s original tenants.
But new stores are just part of a strategy to extend the brand beyond Piaget’s existing customer base, which consists in large part of legacy clients who inherit Piaget watches from family members.
Beyond its prestigious cachet, Piaget, like other luxury brands, is reaching out to a new customer. With a more contemporary design and lower price points, the company is targeting new markets, including working women who buy their own jewelry.
Recent New York events have included in-store book signings tied into Women’s History Month, and a benefit ball for New York’s Chinese community.
“We can’t just continue to manufacture, we have to go after the end of the chain: the consumer,” said Piaget. “We have to adapt to a new clientele, with younger, more fashionable and more affordable goods.”
With its lower price points from $3,800 to $15,000, the Miss Protocole collection targets such consumers with more color and modern shapes. Interchangeable leather, fabric or varnished colored straps, and diamond-set or polished attachments add versatility. The company is also trying to build its Possession wedding-ring line, which features a movable ring within a ring and retails from $800 to $45,000.
“We have a healthy international clientele that still likes the cream-of-the- cream of brands,” said Piaget. “The economy is always good — somewhere in the world.”