2017 marks a huge year for Piaget. They are celebrating their 60th anniversary, and the number 60 plays such a vital role in our understanding of time itself. Commemorating such a unique occasion could be a daunting task, but Piaget – a brand that has not once compromised of their bravery and ambition to push further – have done just that with the conception of the SIHH commemorative Altiplano, an homage to their distinctly ultra-thin movement watches that were initially manufactured in 1957.
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Franck Tozeau, Watch Director for Piaget, makes note of exactly how crucial this new piece is to their celebration of the momentous anniversary. “For us,” said Toazeau, “it’s just a unique occasion to pay tributes to the original watches in term of style and in terms of elegance…the objective with the Altiplano this year is to celebrate.”
“We always develop elegant and timeless watches”
When you consider all the heavyweights that have existed for literal centuries, it’s nice to see that Piaget haven’t let the youth of their ultra-thin movement revolution impact on their innovation. 1957 marked the creation and fruition of this style of watch – which was very much their own – and Tozeau believes that it is now etched into the very conscience of the brand itself.
“You know, from the beginning, (it was) a true DNA legitimacy of the brand. Every time, we capitalise on it,” said Tozeau. “Sometimes, we capitalise on the previous movements to go one step further. It’s the best way to continue to innovate… Knowing that we get a huge collection of interesting movements, we can create a very innovative framework. Even more, we can create and innovate conceptually, rebuilding two movements in the same case with an opening cover to reveal an innovative dual-timezone timepiece. It’s a good way to create an innovative collection.”
Fast-forward about two decades and we arrive at Piaget cementing their legend in the realm of watchmaking with the Piaget Polo. “First of all, at the end of the ’70s, especially 1979, Piaget introduced a distinctive watch which was, of course, Piaget Polo – a timepiece with exactly the same design, not only on the brass side in the case, but also on the dial,” said Tozeau. “At that time, it was really creative and it was probably the first piece to give the opportunity to the brand to be recognised internationally.”
As the years have passed by, and the brand has become progressively more successful, Tozeau attributes the brand’s success to one thing: “Even at the highest and most popular levels, Piaget never stops. This is very important.” Their commitment to the brand is impressive and unshakable, even when other trends surge that go against what Piaget have made themselves a name for.
“I think that Piaget is a distinctive brand, said Tozeau. “We’ve got our own legitimacy, which is interesting – the Altiplano collection…We always develop elegant and timeless watches which is most important for the brand. This one is really distinctive. Even when it was a trend of bulky watches at the end of 2009 or 2008, Piaget never stopped developing elegant and timeless watches.”
We are, however, of course now operating in a world where smart watches are garnering a vast popularity in which Tozeau has a certain disdain for. “Smart watches, their death is already programmed. Three years. We know that,” said Tozeau. “Piaget, you can maintain it forever.”
On a final note, Franck Tozeau remains completely adamant of Piaget’s longevity as a brand and is confident in their ability to flourish in the future. “The brand never follows the trend. We keep our own DNA and we capitalise every year on our DNA, which proves that we follow the line and we stay on the track. That’s it.”