We’re Bringing the Past and the Present Together for Our 150th Anniversary: Remi Jomard

Piaget’s Products and Innovation Director Remi Jomard speaks to GMT India about the brand’s watchmaking principles and milestones so far
We’re Bringing the Past and the Present Together for Our 150th Anniversary: Remi Jomard
May 21, 2024
We’re Bringing the Past and the Present Together for Our 150th Anniversary: Remi Jomard

2024 marks a significant milestone for Swiss luxury watch brand Piaget as the brand will complete 150 years in the industry this year. At Watches and Wonders (W&W) 2024 in Geneva, the brand built upon the momentum from last year by reviving its iconic High Jewellery watches, reintroducing the ultra-thin P9 movement, and showcasing, among other things, the Piaget Polo couple watch.

GMT India caught up with Piaget's Director of Product and Innovation Remi Jomard. He shared insights into Piaget's illustrious history, groundbreaking achievements, and the impressive new collections showcased at the watch gala. Excerpts from the interview:

GMT India: What was the design philosophy the brand had in mind while working on the exquisite timepieces unveiled at Watches and Wonders? 

Remi Jomard (RJ): For us, it’s all about balance. The 150th anniversary is a huge milestone for us because we have decided to bring the past and the present together. That's our philosophy for this year and years to come.

GMT India: Could you take us through the process of using the Piaget savoir-faire for these novelties? 

RJ: The best way to describe Piaget is by using three words: technicity, craftsmanship, and creativity. We are lucky to have a strong manufacturer with lots of expertise not just in craftsmanship but also in the technical aspects. For instance, 100% of the AUC Tourbillon was developed internally. This was possible because we started developing components and regulations for movements over 100 years ago. So, now, we are completely aware of what to do with these components.

Similarly, we are very good at producing gold bracelets and chains. Take the Swinging Sautoir. We know how to produce such chains. We try different patterns and models, using that expertise. It is mainly due to the savoir faire of our artisans and designers that we can create all these products.

GMT India: Which of these models would you say has been the most challenging in terms of production and manufacture?

RJ: I would say all of them, but for different reasons. Sometimes, it’s for technical reasons, at other times, for aesthetic reasons. Picking just one product is difficult. All of them are special. Behind each product are many people — our artists, designers, technicians, and so on. It’s a big family.

GMT India: Piaget has a legacy of being at the forefront when it comes to high jewellery watches and fine jewellery. What has been the driving force of innovation in this regard?

RJ: We are experts when it comes to working on gold. You can see it in our jewellery collection and also in our jewellery timepieces. This is because we know how to manage gold — how to transform, how to engrave, how to melt, and how to machine gold. Our possession rings, each with two rotating rings, attest to the fact that we know how to deal with gold. To that, we bring ornamental stones, technicity for a component movement, craftsmanship, gem-setting, and so on. It’s about all of these components coming together in a product. 

GMT India: As the Director of Product and Innovation, how do you maintain the balance between the technological advancements, and the tradition and history of a brand that's 150 years old?

RJ: It’s very easy. Our technicity is here to serve creativity and aesthetics. That's what we have been doing and that's what we will be doing. We are creativity-driven. We make sure that even if technicity puts constraints on the product, creativity should not get compromised.

GMT India: Looking back at the brand's history, what would you say has been the biggest achievement for Piaget? 

RJ: I have been working with the brand for over 19 years now. I would say that the first milestone was the launch of the 9P caliber, which was 2 mm thick. It was a base to express ourselves. If you have a thin caliber, then you can put more elements on a dial. Back in 1957, it was a huge milestone. We went on to add the gold work around the movement, new dials, and so on. So, 9P in 1957 and then in 2011, the collection of the 1200P saw a modern, automatic version of the 9P. And then came the 900 P and so on.

GMT India: The recently launched Piaget Polo 79 has been received very well by the industry and collectors. How was the legendary model modernised? 

RJ: Working on an iconic watch is the hardest. You have to stay true to its DNA, while not relying too heavily on the past and making sure it’s anchored in modern times. The stakes were even higher with this product as it’s much loved by watch collectors. So, we decided to keep the shape and the essence of the piece intact. We made the diameter 38 mm, changed the clasp, and added an automatic movement with an open caseback (everything that is expected in 2024), while working on the gold hue and the assemblage of the gadroons to make sure it was still ultra-thin and desirable.

GMT India: What would you say have been the key milestones of your own journey with the brand? 

RJ: I’m personally still hooked on the AUC Tourbillon. We are incredibly proud of this product, which posed both human and technical challenges. Getting the world record for the thinnest tourbillon was just the cherry on the cake, our main goal was to improve the AUC hours, minutes and pay homage to Piaget’s ultra-thin mastery for the 150th anniversary celebrations.

Image Credits: Piaget