The jeweler Gemmyo wants to wake up the watch industry

Pauline Laigneau’s brand, which revolutionized the jewelry codes via e-commerce ten years ago, is now diversifying into watchmaking with the Prima watch. This first limited series of 500 pieces should precede others…


A small numbered series


Could it be that the co-founder and her husband, Charif Debs, have been living in Switzerland since 2021 – the cradle of timepiece manufacturing – which prompted her to take the plunge? The fact remains that the Gemmyo jewelry brand is diversifying into watches.


The newcomer, however, has a family resemblance to jewelry. Its architectural octagonal shape is reminiscent of the facets of a diamond with cut sides.


The collection is also available in a pink steel version, a nod to the brand’s soft, luminous signature color. This reminder of the pink gold in the brand’s jewelry collections is also discreetly visible on the steel version via the dial hands.


The result of two years of research and development, the Prima watch has been available to the public since Wednesday, April 26.


© Gemmyo


The brand’s first iteration outside of jewelry, this collection is limited to 500 pieces, each with its own unique number engraved on the case.


The collection offers numerous combinations of dial and bracelet customization. The dial is in steel and pink steel, while the strap is in leather – single or double turn – or steel and pink steel.


Custom House


Recounting the genesis of this new watchmaking product, Pauline Laigneau, Gemmyo’s co-founder, explains that she dreamed of “offering a Swiss-made watch of exceptional quality at the right price. “


She also had the idea of “applying what had made the jewelry brand successful,” namely: demonstrating an extreme requirement in the slightest detail, favoring local manufacturing, offering more noble materials, a modern design, and above all… an unparalleled quality-price ratio.


Innovation, design, accessibility. In short, we find the different pillars of the brand observable in its jewelry products.


© Gemmyo


Innovation has already proven itself in its jewelry line with a new customization service for the time: the possibility of choosing the material and the stone of one’s jewelry.


The Prima watch offers interchangeable bracelets according to the mood of the day, thanks to an ingenious sliding system. It is thus possible to change between a leather strap and a steel strap from anywhere and without tools. The secret lies at the base of the bracelet, where you simply pinch the two balls on either side of the case inwards to release the strap.


© Gemmyo


This modularity is in line with the uses of the new generations, which can also be seen in the world of perfume, notably through the By Far brand, where everything can be built and smelled.


Know-how is also central, with the Prima watch manufactured in Switzerland, the adopted home of the two co-founders.


The watch is equipped with an ETA quartz movement, the most precise in its category.


As for materials, Gemmyo is once again betting on high quality. The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal and prized by great watchmakers for its scratchproof nature.


The straps are made of full grain leather – resistant and supple – untreated and manufactured in France, near Besançon. Each bracelet requires nearly sixty manufacturing steps.


The brand has chosen particularly resistant stainless steel for its metal version to preserve its luminous shine.


To obtain its pink steel alternative, each of the pieces is placed in a hermetic chamber with pink gold to impregnate itself with these particles thanks to a magnetic field. This finish – the best alternative to 750 thousandths (or 18 carats) of gold – also has the advantage of being environmentally friendly.


A turning point in the history of Gemmyo


Since its inception in 2011, Gemmyo has sought to modernize the world of luxury and jewelry by making it more welcoming and human.


When Gemmyo – co-founded by two entrepreneurs from outside the industry – started selling jewelry pieces worth 1,000 euros and more online, the profession was not ready and was quick to ridicule the move.


It all started with a love affair, or rather a disappointing customer experience for co-founder Pauline Laigneau when she bought an engagement ring from the jewelers at Place Vendôme. Overpriced, intimidating, offering a limited choice, and reserved only for connoisseurs, the jewelry buying experience deserves to be rethought, she thinks. The idea is to offer affordable aesthetic jewelry made in France.


But this is easier said than done, especially when there is no seed money to build up a large stock.  But the co-founders Pauline Laigneau and Charif Debs know how to turn financial constraints into real opportunities.


Poster campaign 2014 © Gemmyo


Both decided to rethink the business model (custom-made and no stock), production (3D printing), distribution (100% e-commerce at the beginning), and pricing: a titanic task.


However, this decision to make Gemmyo a leading brand in fine jewelry and jewelry for the younger generation eventually paid off, to the point of influencing even the largest Houses to target a younger clientele.


In 2014, the brand shows that it is much more than a simple, pure player with its poster campaign with its pink kitten.


Physical stores


Like the responsible jeweler Courbet, Gemmyo is an example in the family of DNVBs (Digitally Native Vertical Brands), brands born on the internet that have the particularity of operating a vertically integrated industrial model, from production to marketing.


However, in 2015, due to the insistence of its customers, the brand opened its first physical stores in Paris, Lyon, and Toulouse… and it was a hit. In 2016, the company became profitable.


So much so that before the pandemic, Gemmyo’s turnover increased by 30% despite the closure of its four physical outlets.


Geneva boutique © Gemmyo


In 2022, Gemmyo opened two new boutiques in Geneva and Brussels.


Building on this success, Gemmyo is now extending its offer to watches.


With its new watch line, the brand is also extending its production sites, which were previously concentrated in Provence, the Vosges, and Paris, to Switzerland – in the canton of Jura.


As founder Pauline Laigneau states, “Linking Gemmyo to the world of watchmaking, through this personal attachment to Switzerland, seemed obvious to me. But we wanted to do it while keeping our jewelry identity: a watch that would feature the motif of a diamond with cut sides, the evocation of the color so specific to Gemmyo rose gold, and above all, the same demand for quality.”


Read also > Jewelry: “Sky is the limit at Gemmyo”

Featured photo :Montre Prima © Gemmyo


Picture of Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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