Piaget Polo S, one year on. What comes next?
It’s been a year now since the Polo S took its place among the manufacture’s current collections. What are the conclusions from this first year, and what’s next?
It’s a year, almost exactly, since Piaget launched the Polo S. It was more than a new collection. It was a gamble – three gambles, in fact. First, there was the gamble of seducing new, younger clients who are plugged into the zeitgeist. To achieve this, the manufacture deployed resources commensurate with its ambitions: a high-profile New York launch event, Michelin-starred chefs as ambassadors, a glamorous advertising campaign and concerted social media actions. The second gamble was to retain its loyal existing client base. This was not a foregone conclusion, given that the Polo S is not gold or platinum, but steel, a utility metal with which the manufacture has little experience. Its last steel creation before this was the Upstream, launched in 2001 and withdrawn five years later. Another potential challenge was that this watch was not particularly thin, and the house speciality is ultra-thin movements. That was perhaps one of the reasons behind the launch slogan: Play a different game. Reading between the lines, this means providing a different product for different men (game changers, as Piaget calls them). But the company’s loyal customers can rest assured, Piaget isn’t changing.
Finally, the third gamble was to boost the brand’s growth with more competitive pricing. That was the ambition of Philippe Léopold-Metzger, who unfortunately was not around long enough to see how his strategy played out; six months later, the Richemont group began its game of musical chairs, and he was replaced by Chabi Nouri, although he stayed on as non-executive chairman of the brand.
So, one year down the line, have the gambles paid off? In terms of communication, yes. The launch film was widely shared on social networks. As Valérie Nowak, the brand’s director of international communication, told Stratégies in December: “Our campaign generated over 11 million pageviews on YouTube and 346,000 live views. On Facebook, we reached a peak of 818 new followers and 5,087 new fans.” It was a very successful launch whose effects continue to be felt one year on; for example, on the Swiss domestic market Piaget left the Polo S to its own devices, with no follow-up media campaigns. The watch will find itself in the spotlight again at the SIHH in January.
Malcolm Borwick © Piaget
In the meantime, the brand nevertheless conducted a second launch in the spring, with a limited edition of 888 pieces for three all-black versions (dial, case and strap). It was a significant break from the first Polo, launched in 1979, on which the current model is based. Piaget has confirmed its young, urban, dynamic trajectory, and its international vocation. With the Polo S, the manufacture was able to target the North American market, which is keen on steel. Nevertheless, Quentin Hebert, Piaget’s head of watch marketing, noted: “As for our iconic Altiplano collection, China is an extremely important market for the Polo S. This watch has also fulfilled its mission of satisfying our local customers, and Switzerland has recorded some excellent results, which we hope to build on.”
Polo S © Piaget
Finally, to encourage international adoption, Piaget, like many other companies in recent months, has placed its trust in Mr Porter. The site now offers the Polo S, including those black limited editions, in its online store. And Piaget is not the only taker. Mr Porter has the wind in its sails, with clients including IWC, Bell & Ross, Junghans, Panerai, Zenith and Oris, although Piaget is the only watch and jewellery brand to be represented. While sales figures remain confidential, the Polo S has certainly rejuvenated the image of the venerable jewellery house.
One hundred and forty years’ worth of uninterrupted history have allowed Piaget to forge its unique jewellery and watchmaking expertise. The Brand is a genuine Fine Watchmaking manufacture that brings together the art of ultraflat technology and the finest jewel-setting, characterised by its undyingly elegant and refined aesthetics.Find out more >
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