During its 20th-century heyday from the 1960s through the early 1980s, the Swiss jeweler and watchmaker Piaget enjoyed a reputation as the essence of chic. Known for its ultra-thin timepieces, many bearing groovy gem-set dials, the brand cultivated a loyal following among the glitterati—particularly in Hollywood, where its colorful, radiant style resonated with LA’s more relaxed sense of glamour.
Now, Piaget is making a renewed push to court clients in Southern California, with a new boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and an exclusive Magic Hour high jewelry set, inspired by Southern California’s David Hockney-blue skies and the legendary afternoon rays that illuminate them. (The brand opened its first Rodeo Drive salon in 2014 and moved to a temporary space on nearby Brighton in 2020.)
“When you’re in the luxury business, LA is a very important place and when you like life and sun, it’s also very important,” Benjamin Comar, CEO of Piaget, told Robb Report during a press event in early May. “It’s an important market because the culture of luxury and the image of Piaget here is very good.
“But we think we can do better now because we have the proper tools to showcase our great products,” he added.
Exhibit A: the brand’s new salon on Rodeo Drive, which bears a distinctive gold façade that powerfully conveys the nature of the artisanry housed inside. Featuring a combination of both high-end and more everyday jewelry and watches, along with contemporary artwork by LA-based pop artist Alia Penner, the salon is currently highlighted by three high jewels created to pay homage to the city’s “Magic Hour.”
The ring, earrings and transformable chain link necklace that comprise the set are studded with sapphires and aquamarines in graduating shades of blue that are further enhanced by the brand’s intriguing use of titanium, a naturally gray metal that, once anodized, can blush different colors, from bronze to cobalt to turquoise. (This marks the first time Piaget has used the metal in a set of jewelry.)
“There are two main benefits to using titanium,” said Christophe Bourrie, Piaget’s global high jewelry and exceptional creations director. “First, we are able to manage very carefully the color we use, and to have a shade of blue throughout the stones and as well throughout the titanium.
“The second big benefit of titanium,” he added, “is the weight is super light, meaning it’s comfortable. Specifically for the earrings, you need them to be as light as you can. But even for the necklace.”
The Magic Hour necklace is the star of the set. Paved with 973 brilliant-cut diamonds and more than 2,200 round-cut sapphires in a gradation of three shades, the piece required 350 hours of work. Matching earrings feature 4.14-carat and 4.10-carat cushion-cut aquamarines, accented by 267 round-cut blue sapphires and 165 brilliant-cut diamonds. The ring, meanwhile, is centered on a 5.46-carat cushion-cut aquamarine surrounded by 52 brilliant-cut diamonds and 155 round-cut blue sapphires.
“When you see the full set on a woman, it lights up the woman and the necklace, both together,” Bourrie said. “After three years of working on it, overcoming issues, it’s a kind of an achievement to see it worn by someone and loved by the customer.”
The exclusive Rodeo Drive set wouldn’t be complete without a spectacular high jewelry watch, in keeping with Piaget’s signature cuff style as well as its expertise in gem-setting. The 18k white gold California Lights Cuff watch features a black opal dial framed by 22 marquise-cut blue sapphires, eight marquise-cut emeralds, seven marquise-cut black opals and 269 brilliant-cut diamonds.
To fête the opening of the boutique and the new set, both Bourrie and Comar flew to LA for a whirlwind few days that included a private cocktail party for high-end clients at the boutique followed by dinner nearby. Comar said the brand is keen to promote its legendary “Piaget Society,” an unofficial club that has long united fans of the brand’s style and spirit.
“The Piaget Society was shared joy, the idea of conviviality, of seeing life on the right side,” said Comar, a longtime jewelry executive who was appointed head of Piaget last summer. “It was optimistic and a bit extravagant as well. I call it ‘extraleganza’—extravagant and elegant.
“That’s the history of the brand,” he added. “Working in the mountains making movements, then creating this gold work and hard stone dials. That was in the 1950s and was very innovative for a Geneva-based company. That’s why we’re so successful with the Italian crowd in Monte Carlo and the US as well—because there’s a link with a creative and relaxed way of buying luxury.”