Piaget Watch Company SA

The address I have for Piaget Watch Company initially takes me a building in a so-so mixed-use (apartments, small businesses and warehouse) area several miles from downtown Geneva. Turns out the company moved a few months ago to another part of town so, it's off I go. Hey, their new digs look pretty spiffy: it's a turn-of-the-century former cigarette factory.

The lobby contains two fake trees, fresh flowers in a bowl, one black leather chair, one black leather sofa and nary a clock or watch in sight. Charris Yadigaroglou, head of communications, says Piaget shares the building with one of its sister watches; Baume & Mercier, both owned by Richemont Holdings, whom I visited earlier in Zug.

The company leases the white four-story historic building which Yadigaroglou points out still has the name of the cigarette company embedded on the outside top of the building. Why is the name "E.D. Laurens" still found on the structure? Keeping the name on the building was one of the conditions on leasing the place.

Piaget occupies one and a half floors and has around 50 employees here. Founded in 1874 by Georges Piaget, the current president is also a Piaget. The 60-something year old Yves Piaget is the fourth generation with the company.

Nothing special about managing director Francis Gouten's second floor, computerless middle office containing several pictures of family.

As mentioned earlier I know nothing about watches and took a guess as to how much the Piaget watch Yadigaroglou was wearing cost. I said $1,000. Yadigaroglou looked offended as he says the watch goes for 13,000 Swiss francs. Piaget doesn't make steel watches only gold and platinum. Yadigaroglou fesses up and says employees get a 50% discount to purchase one watch a year.