Q&A: Larry Boland, President Of Piaget North America

“It’s Very Effective Having Sales Associates Who Are Fluent In Chinese”

Piaget created only eight "Dragon & Phoenix" Emperador XL watches

Piaget created only eight "Dragon & Phoenix" Emperador XL watches

During the recent Dragon Week in New York, during which retailers and luxury brands in New York came face-to-face with some of China’s emerging outbound tourist-shoppers, the Swiss watchmaker Piaget held an event at its Fifth Avenue flagship to debut the “Dragon and Phoenix” series of China-focused timepieces. Created last year in preparation for 2012 — the Year of the Dragon on the Chinese calendar — the recent event marked the official US launch of the series, which included a Piaget Altiplano 38mm in 18k white gold set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds, a Grand Feu enamel dial with a dragon depicted on an alligator strap, and an Emperador XL in 18k rose gold, featuring a hand-engraved dragon set with 257 brilliant-cut diamonds.

Following the event, Jing Daily had a chance to engage in a Q&A with Larry Boland, President of Piaget North America, and ask him a few questions about the series, its reception, and what Piaget is doing to cater to the growing number of Chinese tourists showing up at stores throughout the US and Canada.

Jing Daily (JD): Did you feel guests responded positively to the Dragon Week event?

Larry Boland (LB): Our guests clearly enjoyed themselves and were excited to get a look at the new Dragon & Phoenix timepieces. Since this was the debut of the collection in the US, it really was something special.

JD: Would you say guests were more drawn to the Dragon & Phoenix watches, or to the other Piaget items? What kind of reaction did you notice among guests to the Dragon & Phoenix watches?

LB: The Dragon & Phoenix collection was extremely well-received. While most people expect a certain standard from Piaget, I think the level artistry and craftsmanship in these pieces is extraordinary and the guests really responded to that. Of course, whenever we show high jewelry it causes a sensation, so there was a lot of excitement around the Garden Party collection as well.

JD: Would you say interested guests were more likely to make purchases during the event, or to return on their own afterwards?

LB: In general, we find that clients like to get a first look at products during events such as this, but then return at a later date when they can spend more time and have a little more privacy. A purchase of this nature is usually a very considered one.

JD: What are you currently doing to cater to Chinese shoppers in the US?

LB: We have a number of initiatives in place to address Chinese shoppers here in the US, including advertising, direct marketing and special events such as this. In addition, it’s very effective having sales associates who are fluent in Chinese. And having something like our Dragon & Phoenix collection is certainly a real asset.

JD: Based on your observations at the Dragon Week event, what further events or initiatives do you foresee organizing to attract more Chinese buyers?

LB: I can’t share too many details on our strategy, but suffice it to say that we will continue to look for innovative and effective ways to connect with Chinese customers. Ideally, we are bringing the Piaget brand to life in an experiential way that gives our customers an opportunity to interact with our products. When you see a Piaget watch up close, that’s when the magic happens.


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Travel, Watches & Jewelry