Fascinated by the world of luxury from an early age, Jean-Marc Shammas has been promoted recently to brand director for the Middle East and India for the leading Swiss watch making and jewelry brand, Piaget. Born in 1971 in Lebanon, Jean Marc moved to Paris where he graduated from the European Business SCHOOL (BA
FINANCE). He began his career with a French commodities company; his initial role as a grain trader helped him gain valuable first-hand expertise into how the Middle East marketplace works especially in sales & promotion. Since its foundation in 1874, Piaget continues to cultivate a spirit of luxury while emphasizing its boldness, attention to detail, and fully integrated watchmaking capacities.
Piaget has the privilege of controlling the entire production process for its watches. What advantages does that give you?
It’s in our genes so to speak. Producing an integrated manufacturing watch movement takes somewhere between two-and-a-half-to-three-years working on the engineering and other processes, so we have the privilege to control the process from A to Z. It saves us time. We don’t rely on external suppliers who sometimes can’t deliver on time. So, in effect, we know our DNA: we have our own technicians, engineers and craftsmen. We even produce our own tools—it’s called intergraded manufacturing.
Tell us more about Piaget’s Creative Collection, Magic Gardens of Piaget, and Limelight?
Piaget unveiled the Couture Précieuse last September at The Biennale des Antiquaires. This collection explores the idea of feminine seduction. Couture Précieuse uses the limited colour palette of white diamonds, red rubellites, and mysterious black spinels; and it’s all made with white gold. The collection is marked by a lightness of feeling created by openwork settings together with a tendency to mix diamond cuts such as brilliants and baguettes to create a richer sparkle, and a more youthful look.
Piaget opened the doors to its secret garden, which it’s been cultivating carefully for several years. It’s taken all of Piaget’s secrets to create enough magic to transform the elements of a structured garden into the marvellous pieces of the Magic Gardens of Piaget collection. Beads of water have been crystallized into diamond droplets, while roses have been transformed into precious diamond rings. As for the Limelight collection, it extends an invitation to walk the Red Carpet reflecting its flamboyant inventiveness. One by one, the items of jewelry exhibit their dazzling silhouettes, fashioned in gold, and studded with diamonds & precious stones. Their perfect proportions and shapes evoke the flowing lines of the most prestigious haute couture creations.
With a vast presence in the Middle East, have you tried to infuse “orientalism” into some of your designs?
We design worldwide. For instance, the Possession and Piaget Rose collections fit any single customer around the world in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. I would like to mention that we’ve done special
series for Kuwaiti customers with our partner Morad Yousuf Behbehani in our boutiques at 360 Mall and the Salhiya complex.
How do you continue to innovate with perfection while maintaining your brand’s identity?
Piaget is very limited as we choose to produce approximately only 20,000 watches a year. We want to produce a limited number of perfectly finished innovative watches. What makes Piaget a unique brand to work for is its watch-making legitimacy and exuberant jewelry creations. Each year I’m astounded by the innovation & boldness of our new collection, which enable us to stand out in the industry.
Give us a sneak peak for the upcoming season, would you?
We will be revealing a significant completion in the watch industry with our latest Limelight collection for women in The Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie SIHH. It’s one such platform where leading brands will present the best of luxury and precious watches to leading international retailers. The event takes place in January 2013 in Geneva.
What characteristics attract people to luxurious watches?
It’s a human desire to wear luxurious items with a great timepiece on their wrist—it reflects their social status.
What makes you stand out in one of the most competitive international businesses?
By breaking records and showcasing we’re pioneers. Previously, that is two years ago, we broke the record by producing the Piaget and extra-thin calibers; the wristwatch has been the incentive for feats of miniaturization in mechanical movements. Ultra-thin calibers are a prime example, and Piaget has distinguished itself in this art.
Any future expansion plans?
I would like to emphasize that the Middle East market is very important to us. Piaget was one of the first brands to enter Kuwait in the 1960s. We’ve recently opened a boutique in Al Ittihad Mall in Abu Dhabi with plans for more expansion in the future.