Interview With Franck Touzeau, International Watch Marketing & Creation Director of Piaget

By Jovan Krstevski

Mr. Franck Touzeau decided to move to Mexico to work on the retail for the boutique and when he came back to France’s HQ, Franck was waiting for his military service. As a student he studied at the MPH and at the end of this course Cartier gave him a job as a product manager for Piaget and Vacheron Constantin for the French market based in Paris, and after 2 years he went directly to Switzerland to work on the production.

What can you tell us about the new watches? Are you responsible for ensuring they are up to date with the market?

So, this year Piaget is celebrating a great anniversary for the brand, as you know Piaget has a strong activity which is based on the ultra-thin market, and you know sixty seconds make one minute and sixty minutes make one hour, but sixty years make an icon.

After sixty years we wanted to celebrate something extra special for the brand which is sixty years of leading the ultra-thin segment. We have already developed more than 25 ultra-thin calibers and within those 25 calibers, 15 are world records thus proving that Piaget is the leader of ultra-thin watches. This year we wanted to focus on this iconic model in order to make the collection more dynamic by introducing vivid colours just to celebrate. This is just the beginning of the celebration because we are going to a launch every 3 or 4 months something new to continue to celebrate all of the year, so this is the beginning.

For this celebration we are presenting a collection of 7 limited editions proving that today the Altiplano becomes an icon which pays tribute to the ultra-thin expertise, always setting the trends with beautiful colours like this one. There are 3 limited editions based on the 40mm case featuring a new movement based on the 1205P which was introduced in 2010 but we decided to remove the small seconds at 5 O’clock to place a date window at 3 O’clock instead. There are 3 colours that are really nice especially the green one that matches perfectly with the yellow gold with a beautiful movement on the underside, fully inline with the 12P calibre which was introduced in the 1960s, for the first time with a micro-rotor in yellow gold. All of these limited editions feature the historical Piaget logo seen on watches from the 50s.

The true two limited editions representing the (dark?) Piaget looks with the same sun ray effect with the cross on the dial from the historical watches from 1957 with an automatic movement and the Piaget logo. An ultra-thin automatic watch which is a double record watch featuring the thinnest automatic movement on the market today at 2.35mm within a case measuring only 5.25mm thick. The mechanical version which is a unisex timepiece that’s 38mm across has exactly the same design codes as the other one, there’s also a ladies version with a similar design cue measuring only 34mm across with a vivid pink colour with the strap that comes with either a smooth or diamond set bezel.

When you work on a new watch do you draw inspiration from the history and architecture of the area surrounding the manufacture?

You know, every time we dream up a new model for the Piaget brand, we used to spend time with the (Vacheron Constantin) Patrimony department because they’ve got such creativity inside the brand, even for the creative collection we’ve got a lot of concept watches in mind and we can explore a dedicated route. For high watchmaking and for animating the pillars we work only with the Patrimony.

You use a lot of cushion shaped cases in your watches, is there any particular reason for this?

Yeah, because Piaget has a strong history in antique watches and from the beginning between the 60s and the 80s Piaget used to only develop cushion shaped watches. At that time we had another model which was completely different which was called Altiplano. It’s a round shape that’s pure, elegant and yet timeless at the same time. All of the other watches dedicated to men are shaped watches, but not only for men as there are some for ladies as well. We also love to combine shapes inside of other shapes, and every time we combine both it gives much more relief to the designers.

Which of the current lineup would you say fits you and your lifestyle?

For sure, the Altiplano. I love all we’ve done over the last 15 years with the Altiplano. It proves we always can innovate in the ultra-thin segment, like we did with the 900P and all the complications which were introduced. I love the Piaget Polo S model which is probably one of the younger models from the Piaget brand today. But my favourite would be the Altiplano, I love it!

What steps are you taking to ensure you are still making the world’s thinnest watches?

As I said just before, we already have 25 ultra-thin calibers, we don’t need to continue to prove we are the leader in the market. If you compare all the other brands we can compete with them. Every brand has its own specialities, we are not Patek and we don’t want to compete with them or focus on complications like they do. It’s the same with Vacheron Constantin, it has it’s own position. Cartier also has a spread over most of the market, but they make a lot more watches. Piaget focuses on ultra-thin elegance and timeless design, the pleasure you get when you buy your Piaget watch today will the same in 20 years time because we always develop timeless timepieces. If you look at the designs of some pieces, it is exactly the same design as from 1957. You know, I love the Vacheron brand. I have worked for 3 years for them as well and I love the Patrimony, but if you put the Patrimony and a Piaget watch on the same tray you will notice one is more contemporary. If you look at the Patrimony, there is something subtle which looks very vintage from the 70s about it. With the Piaget you can target young people, and a few older ones, whereas with Vacheron, it is fully dedicated to people around 50 or 60 years which is totally different. Sometimes, one small detail makes all the difference for sure.

Have you considered stepping into the diving watch market, it’s extremely popular these days, so is it likely we will see one?

No, one thing to know is that Piaget never follows the trend, we have our own routes that are extremely important. Even if diving watches are coming back into trend, what is the link between diving and Piaget? Nothing. Even for smart watches it doesn’t make any sense, every time we need to keep our own designs true. Even with the trends for big watches between 2005 and 2010, Piaget at the time continued to develop ultra-thin and elegant timepieces. Even when it was the trend for black watches around 5 years ago, we never introduced a black timepiece so we waited a little bit to reveal this year two limited editions with a black treatment on the bezel that are still fully inline with the Piaget style.