POLO PLAY­ERS

FOR THE L AUNCH OF IT S L ATE ST R ANGE OF WATCHES, PI­AGET HAS FORMED AN EN­VI­ABLE COL­LEC­TION OF TALE NT.

GQ (Australia) - - GQ WATCH - pi­aget.com

Find­ing the right fa­mous face to rep­re­sent a com­pany is a pretty big gam­ble. The stakes are raised when the ap­pointed chis­elled vis­age, and at­ten­dant manly hand, is charged with at­tract­ing a broader au­di­ence to a brand that’s been tin­ker­ing with watches and jewellery for the elite since 1874. Pi­aget’s Philippe Léopold-met­zger is a man who likes to hedge his bets. For the re­lease of the Pi­aget ‘Polo S’, the com­pany’s first com­plete col­lec­tion of stain­less steel watches, the cau­tious chief ex­ec­u­tive wasn’t will­ing to place all of the em­pha­sis on on new am­bas­sador, and Hol­ly­wood’s lat­est bank­able su­per­hero, Ryan Reynolds. “We chose him be­cause he’s nice look­ing and has a global reach,” says Léopold-met­zger of Reynolds, with dead­pan un­der­state­ment. But just in case the ap­peal of the man named by US Peo­ple mag­a­zine as both the Sex­i­est Man Alive and the Sex­i­est Dad Alive (who man­aged to turn the $77.4m movie Dead­pool into a $1.04bn block­buster) couldn’t de­liver enough wrist ac­tion, eight “friends of the brand” were called into help. Bri­tish polo player and Prince Harry wing­man Malcolm Bor­wick, Swiss nov­el­ist Joël Dicker, Chi­nese ac­tor and singer Hu Ge, Bel­gian ten­nis player David Goffin, Emi­rati en­tre­pre­neur and so­cial me­dia fiend Mo­hammed Sul­tan Al Habtoor, Ja­panese en­ter­tainer Miyavi and French chef Jean-françois Piège are all de­scribed as Pi­aget’s ‘gamechang­ers’ and will fea­ture in the col­lec­tion’s global pro­mo­tion. “You can­not have suc­cess to­day in such a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket if you don’t have a strong mar­ket­ing pro­gram,” says Léopold-met­zger. “You won’t get the cut-through.” In this case, cut-through is es­sen­tial, as Pi­aget strays from its fa­mil­iar do­main of late – dress watches and gag-in­duc­ing price tags – to­wards the rel­a­tively ac­ces­si­ble $15,600 en­try level for the ‘Polo S’ col­lec­tion. The fo­cus of the new col­lec­tion is on pre­serv­ing Pi­aget’s so­phis­ti­cated and el­e­gant edge while at­tract­ing new cus­tomers. The Pi­aget ‘Polo S’ fea­tures a cush­ion-shaped in­ner dial, a gen­tle nod by de­sign­ers to the ac­claimed ‘Em­per­ador’, within a 42mm round case. The three-hand au­to­matic Pi­aget ‘S’, pow­ered by the 1110P move­ment, is avail­able with a blue, white or grey dial. The Pi­aget ‘Polo S Chrono­graph’ is avail­able with a sil­ver or blue dial and is pow­ered by the 1160P move­ment. “The way we’re go­ing to work with all of those game-chang­ers is that we’re go­ing to lever­age their so­cial me­dia,” says Léopold-Met­zger. “You look at some of those guys and they have two mil­lion or 10 mil­lion peo­ple fol­low­ing them. I hope this will have a snow­ball ef­fect and it’s in­stantly go­ing to po­si­tion the new watch in the world.” Ryan Reynolds has al­ready posted prod­uct shots to his 5.9 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers – cap­tioned with his trade­mark quick-wit­ted quips – as well as giv­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate state­ments at the col­lec­tion’s star-packed launch in Brook­lyn on a steamy July night. “There are very few items that men carry through­out their lives in terms of ac­ces­sories, and a watch is one of them,” says Reynolds. “And this is one of the things I hope to pass along to my kids – I got my daugh­ter’s ini­tials on the back.

“Pi­aget is one of the most time­less in­sti­tu­tions in the world and to be as­so­ci­ated with them in any way, shape, or form is pretty mag­nif­i­cent.” Work­ing just as hard to push the Pi­aget mes­sage is the fi­nal friend of the brand, Creed, The Wire and Fri­day Night Lights ac­tor Michael B Jordan. At the launch, Jordan per­formed his am­bas­sado­rial du­ties along­side Reynolds with aplomb – the fol­low­ing day re­veal­ing his true time­keep­ing cre­den­tials. “I feel naked with­out one,” says Jordan, who owns 15 time­pieces. “Once you get that nice fit, that pre­ci­sion, it def­i­nitely gives you con­fi­dence. Es­pe­cially when you know what you have on your wrist.” Be­fore tak­ing on the gig, 29-year-old Jordan vis­ited Pi­aget’s man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity. “When you know where this watch came from, and who made it, you know the value of it. It helps your con­fi­dence, with­out be­ing flashy. You don’t have to be bright and sparkly to have value.” As well as beef­ing up his watch col­lec­tion, Jordan is happy with his new Pi­aget-ap­pointed moniker as a game-changer and some­one who thinks dif­fer­ently. “I want to take risks,” he says. “With my ca­reer and things that I want to do in my com­mu­nity, and as a per­son, it’s about not al­ways go­ing with the grain.” While Jordan is con­tent with pre­ci­sion in his time­pieces, in movies he prefers to al­low room for er­ror. “You have to plan to be pre­cise but you also have to leave room for magic and art, so there’s a cer­tain free­dom in im­pro­vi­sa­tion. There are cer­tain things that you can’t cal­cu­late.” For Léopold-met­zger, pre­ci­sion counts for all – adamant the ‘Polo S’ col­lec­tion will ap­peal to the Aus­tralian mar­ket, even with­out any an­tipodean game-chang­ers out front. “This will be a good prod­uct,” says Léopold-Met­zger. “Australia’s a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.” The com­pany is still look­ing for a location to set up an Aus­tralian flag­ship bou­tique, with Léopold-met­zger lament­ing the sky­rock­et­ing rental prices of Sydney and Mel­bourne. “I’ve been look­ing at the re­tail mar­ket for a long time. Ide­ally, I’d open a store but the prices are crazy. There is a mar­ket, though.” For now, he’s con­tent to have dealt with Pi­aget’s own price prob­lem. “Some­times prices have gone out of hand,” he ad­mits. “There is a need to­day for value for money. What you need is a prod­uct that’s go­ing to be great, at an ac­ces­si­ble price. Ac­ces­si­bil­ity is some­thing that every brand, in­clud­ing an exclusive brand like Pi­aget, needs to have.”

STAIN­LESS STEEL ‘POLO S’ WATCH, $15,600, BY PI­AGET.

CLOCK­WISE, FROM LEFT: RYAN REYNOLDS AND MICHAEL B JORDAN SPORT THE ‘POLO S’; JORDAN AND PI­AGET BOSS LÉOPOLD-MET­ZGER.

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