Young, talented and likeable, Chabi Nouri spent two years under Philippe Leopold-Metzger’s wing before being appointed Piaget’s Chief Executive at the start of the year. Some said, “One hell of a woman”; others said “Wonder woman”. Here are ten questions about the personality and passion that have made this forty-something mother a female role model that many of us can look up to.
Your career began at Richemont with Cartier then you went to British American Tobacco before returning to the group. What did you miss most?
The creative element along with a passion for the product! My professional experiences have all been extremely rewarding and have built on one another. From the relationship you have with clients or affiliates to the prospects or artisans we work with. It all fuels your professional and people skills. You don’t decide which opportunities you have and that’s what makes the experience magical!
We’re seeing more and more women in top positions in a predominantly male industry…Now you’re CEO, a first in the industry. What’s your advantage?
Diversity in business is vital. I believe that it’s a real asset to be able to understand different cultures and ways of thinking in the same team. It’s not so much if you’re a man or woman; it’s a person’s profile that matters most. As a woman, I’m delighted to see more and more women in our industry and the ratio is fairly balanced. After all, I represent 50% of our world’s population!
Piaget seems to be focusing on digital more than ever. How do you want to make your mark? Are you taking “millennials” into account?
Of course! Sales are extremely interesting online. Nowadays you have to be able to tell the same story on different channels. Being true to the message and telling it in different ways is essential. Digital is integral to our society but I think that it’s more about engaging internet users and not just giving them the option of buying online.
You’ve mentioned bringing Piaget to e-commerce. Would you have an own brand online shop? E-commerce standards or marketplaces?
At the end of the day we’re striving to build a relationship with the client whether on our website or someone else’s. From bloggers and journalists to friends, we have to be able to appropriately express the Piaget universe. But you have to remember that three quarters of the people who buy in store have done online research beforehand.
What would you say sets Piaget apart in watchmaking?
I think it’s our philosophy for making stylish watches. Let’s take the Altiplano for example. Aside from its super-slim calibre and legendary slim case, it oozes elegance. The same goes for the women’s collections with Possession, Cocktail and Gala…We’re inclined to go the extra mile at Piaget: a slimmer movement, a case and movement that are in tune in terms of finesse. Piaget stands for appeal and elegance.
How about jewellery?
All the pieces are playful in our regular jewellery ranges: they spin, move and transform. They exude positivity: the use of colours, gems and materials keep things light and can be worn day and night. The latest Sunlight Journey collection is a prime example of our fine jewellery. We again took our expertise and creativity even further by using feather and opal inlay to express wonder and joy with plays on colour and spectacular materials.
Inlays with feathers, opals, wood and more recently eggshell… always a step further, always more original: how far are you willing to go?
As far as we have to! The inspiration for a collection will take us as far as we have to go. If that means hunting down the best artisan then that’s what we’ll do. Sometimes we give an extra challenge to these talented craftsmen who have to learn to work on a small surface. Piaget has let them unleash their creativity by giving them more space to work on the dials thanks to the ultra-slim movement.
Don’t you think that the creativity we’ve seen recently is reaching saturation point?
Not at all, I think there’s still room for everyone. You just have to give yourself the time to research, think and push the boundaries even further yet stay true to the brand’s values that have stood the test of time.
Piaget made its name in watchmaking by specialising in ultra- slim calibres then in jewellery with incredible and impressive expertise. How do you expect the brand perception to change?
I’m not sure we can really talk about a change in perception; I’d say more what Piaget brings to mind and expresses. It’s a long-standing brand with lots of expertise that’s motivated and driven to exceed itself as proven by the bold colours and materials as well as the blend of shapes. The Cuff-Watch is a great example of the fusion between watches and jewellery. Piaget oozes real energy and joy.
What with your new responsibilities and business trips, what do you do with the little time you’re left with?
I exercise but not as often as I’d like…but I enjoy spending time with family and friends as well as devoting myself to nature. You need concrete planning to strike a balance between your work and personal life: it works and helps me balance both!