There’s no such thing as not finding the press rooms of Piaget! – the fragrance of the delightful Yves Piaget roses which ornament the booth clearly mark the way.
Rose has been an inspiration for Piaget and rose motifs have appeared on their pieces since 1960. This year three new Altiplano models emerged with the rose motif being master examples of two artistic techniques: wood and mother-of-pearl marquetry as well as gold engraving.
Altiplano 38mm dial in wood marquetry and white mother-of-pearl & wood marquetry
Marquetry is a beautiful, yet hard method of decoration, especially when pieces from different materials are set, and even more when some are extremely fragile like mother-of-pearl.
Marquetry is a craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns. The material can be wood, bone, ivory or tortoise-shell, for example. The technique may be applied to furniture, decorative small objects or jewellery. Wood marquetry was developed in Antwerp and other Flemish commercial centres in the early 16th century. This art reached its heyday in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Louis XIV and Louis XV style periods.
Piaget, in collaboration with Marquetry Artisan Rose Saneuil, crafted two kinds of Yves Piaget rose marquetry dials on 38mm Altiplanos. One with precious wood only, while the other combines that with mother-of-pearl. Rose Saneuil studied at the renowned Ecole Boulle in Paris and since then she continuously explores new techniques and finds innovative ways to integrate unexpected materials into this art form. On the Piaget timepiece she used 96 miniscule pieces of pale rose bird’s eye maple wood, pink and light red sycamore and mother-of-pearl. These tiny pieces have to be assembled and inlaid within a 32mm diameter.
As you can see the result is a very feminine and lively timepiece, giving the inimitable “wearing the spring on the wrist” feeling.
Both versions are cased in white gold featuring a bezel set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Altiplano 38mm engraved gold dial
The motif is the same, but the technique is different on the 18k pink gold piece, which Piaget created with Dick Steenman. He is an Amsterdam-born jeweller, gem-setter, engraver and designer, who creates small masterpieces for fine watchmaking brands. On this particular model he hand-engraved the pink gold dial with the Yves Piaget rose motif, and he made it feel alive and three dimensional. First he used a scriber to outline the petals, and then he sculpted them, which is quite a feat considering the thinness of the dial.
Just as the previous models, this watch is set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.7 ct) and the Manufacture Piaget 430P ultra-thin hand- wound movement is ticking inside.
Altiplano 38mm 900D
This year Piaget has chosen “radiance” as one of their keywords and what could be more radiant than a perfectly gem-set haute horlogerie chef-d’oeuvre? With its 5.60mm thickness and the 5.77 carats of diamond the new Altiplano 900D became the world thinnest haute joaillerie watch.
Not only the case and the dial are adorned with diamonds, but also parts of the movement. The main plate is satin-brushed and set with brilliant-cut diamonds, the bridges are snow set and the screws of the bridges also wear their diamond tip. The feat accomplished in this model is incredible, since the diamonds cannot interfere with the moving parts of the 900D ultra-thin hand-wound calibre.
Emperador Coussin XL 700P
Talking about quartz movements in the Swiss watch industry is always a controversial thing. Piaget presented its first in-house quartz calibre, the ultra-thin 7P in 1976 and has been using in-house developed quartz movements in some ladies’ and haute joaillerie models ever since. For the 40th birthday of the 7P, the brand issued the Emperador Coussin XL 700P, a concept watch in a 118-piece limited series. I bet this will also be divisive and maybe rebellious in a way.
The design truly reflects the Black Tie collection of the brand. It has a 46.5 mm-diameter white gold cushion-shaped case, a black ADLC-coated rounded bezel and the elegance is completed with a black alligator leather strap.
It’s not really the looks, but the brains which is rather interesting here. The base idea of the 700P is rooted back in the 1970s when the rise of quartz started. The movement is a mechanical – quartz hybrid, which sources kinetic energy from the movement of the micro-rotor at 9 o’clock, but instead of an escapement it has a generator at the end of the going train the turn of which is regulated by a quartz reference. The generator is the suspended organ on the tripod-bridge at 2 o’clock, turning 5.33 times per second. So there’s no electric battery or anything, only the good old mainspring on the barrel wound by the micro-rotor. The movement works as long as there’s tension on the mainspring. Thus, theoretically any mechanical complication could be added to the movement in the future…
Limelight Stella & Gala
One of our favourites became the Limelight Stella, issued last Autumn. The timepiece was also there in Geneva and we included it in our special series dedicated to women.
Piaget is known for creating infinitely fluid, supple bracelets in gold. A great new example is the Limelight Gala timepiece which sits perfectly on the wrist with the light and comfortable Milanese bracelet and with the diamond-set elongated asymmetrical lugs.
Photo credits: Piaget, Loupiosity.com.
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