Meet Alix Charrier, watch designer at Piaget, who never planned to work in the watch industry, but after a lot of hard work, smart networking (and some luck) managed to find an opportunity that she could not pass up, which eventually turned out to be her dream job! As someone who has always allowed herself to embrace the opportunities that present themselves, she has grown immensely in the Group, with the help of an amazing team and the kindness that they have shown along the way.
My career journey
My adventure inside the Richemont Group began in early 2016 when I joined Creative Academy. Richemont's design school, based in Milan, begins with 7 months of lessons from professionals working at the company and the Maisons (drawing basics, horology, gemology introduction, history of jewels, luxury marketing induction, intellectual property, and so on), as well as visits to many museums, fairs, and craftsmen's workshops throughout Italy, and even design projects supervised by Maisons' Creative Directors. The Creative Academy concludes with an internship at one of the Maisons. I was chosen by Baume & Mercier's Creative Director and relocated from Milan to Geneva.
My trip did not finish after this three-month internship; I was hired, and thus my career as a watch designer began. I started from scratch, knowing nothing about watch design or timepieces in general! I learned so much owing to wonderful teams and a true family.
After three years, I began to consider something different, another element of my career that I wanted to learn more about, such as working on more technical watches or more unique and artistic ones with, métiers d'art (why not!) The stars aligned, and a position at Piaget became available! I now work on Masterline watches like Polo and Altiplano, as well as very exclusive watches (high-jewellery watches and Métiers d'art), which is one of Piaget's specialities. I encountered different problems compared to my time at Baume & Mercier (different production quantities, different materials: creating a steel watch is very different from designing a gold watch, and so on). And, of course, I began to play with stones!
“Always do better than necessary” (I know, not very creative, I didn’t look too far for finding it, it is Piaget’s motto, but I like this state of mind)
My biggest learning
Together, we are stronger! A designer may be faced with a competitive mood (especially as a student, but also when several designers are working on the same project), but in our design studio, we enjoy sharing our ideas and proposals, which allows our project to evolve, mature, and allow us to take a different approach. We share our expertise and experiences. Aside from that, there are numerous phases and trades involved from the drawing to the watch in the boutique (marketing, development, internal manufacturing, external suppliers, supply chain, and so on). We all work together to create wonderful artwork, hand in hand. In any way, a designer is never alone! The 20 students at Creative Academy came from a variety of backgrounds; some were familiar with watches and jewellery, others with software, and others with a more technical background. We shared our resources and worked together, which was amazingly beneficial!
Some final words
From school to an established designer, I have been trained and I evolved within the Richemont group for more than 6 years. I constantly want to discover and learn more and more, I had the chance to discover a new aspect of my job when I joined Piaget from Baume & Mercier, working on more technical and precious watches, participating in High-Jewelry collections with exclusive and Métiers d’art watches. Being part of a group gives you the possibility to explore different fields and new horizons when the need and curiosity are felt for a new challenge. And new challenges are always welcomed!