With Its New Boutique in Beverly Hills, Swiss Jeweler Piaget Celebrates Artists and Artisanship
The maison, which collaborated with the likes of Dalí and Warhol, is now showcasing works commissioned from L.A. artist Alia Penner.
In 1874, a 19-year-old Georges-Édouard Piaget set up a workshop on his family’s farm in the Swiss Jura village of La Côte-aux-Fées, where he pursued a hobby that was hardly provincial: watchmaking.
Over the years, Piaget timepieces have become known far and wide for their high-precision movements and creative flair, whether featuring dials carved from colorful stones such as coral, jade, and turquoise (an industry first when they were introduced in 1963), or designed with artists such as Andy Warhol.
“Piaget has a unique and longstanding connection with the art world,” said Benjamin Comar, the company’s CEO. “As Yves G. Piaget used to say, ‘Our watches and jewelry are real works of art, and the people who make them are real artists.’”
Comar was referring to the fourth-generation head of Piaget, a true man-about-town in the ’60s and ’70s, on the scene everywhere from the French Riviera to Warhol’s Factory in New York. He forged friendships that lead to creative partnerships, starting with Salvador Dalí, who in 1967 created a limited-edition collection of Dalí d’Or watches and jewelry that helped to reimagine the brand by way of art.
Indeed, while its artisans still work from an atelier on that same family farm in Switzerland—and also from another site in Plan-les-Ouates, near Geneva, where they use rare goldsmithing and gem-setting techniques developed across generations—Piaget has come a long way, both in its craftsmanship and its art collaborations.
Now, it has arrived in Los Angeles, with a glittering new boutique on Rodeo Drive.
With its façade modeled after Piaget’s signature Milanese mesh, a fabric of woven gold threads typically found in its watchbands, the store has been crafted as an emblem of the maison’s artistry and métiers d’or—one designed to look good on Instagram. Inside, guests will find an interactive mirror that transforms their reflections into golden silhouettes, downloadable as gifs for digital souvenirs.
The store also houses a special high jewelry suite with a Magic Hour collection, inspired by the gradation of color and light as the sun dips below the horizon in the Southern California sky. Expect titanium earrings, rings, and necklaces that transform into bracelets set with different shades of sapphires, aquamarines, and brilliant-cut diamonds—the latter of which took Piaget artisans 350 hours to perfect—available exclusively at the Beverly Hills store.
Meanwhile, Piaget is honoring its heritage with a cultural program that will feature installations, musical performances, and more. For the opening, it commissioned works from the multidisciplinary artist Alia Penner, known for creating everything from Tom Petty album art to immersive film screenings, not to mention her Technicolor Instagram feed.
With its psychedelic Pop aesthetic, her work is reminiscent of a particularly colorful Piaget ad campaign from 1967, created by Italian photographer and designer Willy Rizzo. As Comar said, “It was a natural fit.”
Incorporating Piaget’s signature blue and gold, and inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood, Penner created collage paintings that celebrate the history and glamor of her native L.A., featuring silent movie stars such as Marion Davies.
They are currently on display (through May 2022) in a small lounge in the back of the boutique, which serves as a mini-gallery and a space for intimate gatherings.
“It kind of feels like a salon,” Penner said—“like it could be Mr. Piaget’s art salon.”
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.