“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Piaget at Watches and Wonders 2023

The ‘Maison of Extraleganza’ presented beautiful high jewellery watches at Watches and Wonders 2023 alongside with the Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin models, including a special edition. 

Benjamin Comar is a luxury industry veteran – his career includes important positions at Cartier and Chanel and most recently he served as chief executive of Italian jeweller, Repossi (in which LVMH upped its stake to 69 percent in April 2018). He was appointed as the CEO of Piaget in 2021, succeeding Chabi Nouri. Being the second Watches and Wonders under his creative direction, he and his team dedicated this year’s event to the Piaget-signature high jewellery timepieces and the thin Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar.

High Jewellery Watches

During the ‘60s and ’70s Piaget released many watchmaking icons – for example distinctively shaped watches featuring dials made of ornamental stone. The brand would soon be a symbol of the ‘beautiful people’ who made things happen in this era. The Piaget events became the ‘place to be’ and people attending these events – the Piaget Society.

Valentin Piaget was the third generation of the Piaget family; he and his brother Gerald took over the business in 1945. He sent his designers to Paris to follow the couture catwalk show and collect inspiration in order to serve the most stylish clients of the era. Moreover, under his direction the research department in La Cote-aux-Fées developed the 2mm thin hand-wound 9P caliber in 1957. With this movement they were able to launch thinner cases, which helped to flourish creativity. He and his team famously created watches that doubled as jewels and were great accessories in a time of social, economic, artistic and fashion revolution. 

With the latest novelties, the Maison celebrates ‘extraleganza’ – the well-balanced combination of extravagance and elegance. 

High Jewellery Cuff Watches

The Piaget cuff or manchette watches are among the most recognisable and emblematic creations. In 1967 the Maison started making timepieces with dials in coloured hard stones (lapis-lazuli, jade, rubellite, onyx or tiger’s eye) and combined it with lavishly textured gold bracelets. See two great examples from the 1970s here

The savoir-faire of special gold finishing has been cultivated within the atelier by generations of craftsmen. At last year’s Homo Faber, we had the chance to admire these rare crafts in real life – by following the work of a Piaget artisan on the ‘décor palace’ gold finishing. This decorative hand-engraving technique is from 1960 and it gives gold an iridescent, textured appearance evoking silk or other fine textiles.

In 2023 Piaget surprised the jewellery watch lovers with three new Piaget Cuff models, two in rose gold and one in white gold, all housing the 356P manufacture quartz movement. 

The rose gold Limelight High Jewellery watch with turquoise dial features the above mentioned ‘palace decor’ bracelet and is set with brilliant-cut sapphires, matching the vivid bluish-green colour. The second rose gold model combines the ‘palace decor’ engraving with exceptional gem-setting – the timepiece has brilliant-cut diamonds around the shimmery white opal dial and on the bracelet (approx. 4.96 ct). 

The third comes in cooler tones: it has a white gold bracelet with snow-decoration and 8 brilliant-cut emeralds (approx. 0.48 ct) which frame a black opal dial. Black opals have a dark body tone and a vibrant play of colour making them highly valuable and appreciated in jewellery making. The dial here shows dark but vivid blue and green colours, nicely contrasting the white precious metal. 

High Jewellery Aura Watch

In 1989, Piaget presented a gem-set masterpiece, the Aura watch – at first exclusively set with diamonds. The diamonds in near-invisible settings allow the light to freely move around the dial and around the wrist, giving the watch its name. In 1993 the Maison began to produce various limited versions of the Aura model, with different coloured precious stones. 

The 2023 Aura watch is powered by the ultra-thin hand-wound mechanical movement while demonstrating more than 260 hours of impeccable gem-setting craftsmanship. The new timepiece is set with custom-cut baguette diamonds flowing into a ‘dégradé’ composition of meticulously calibrated sapphires, with shades from icy-light to midnight blue enclosing a diamond-set dial in a radiant sunburst pattern.

Piaget Polo

The Piaget Polo watch was born in 1979, and the brand became associated with the ‘sport of kings’ – a spectator sport for equestrians and high society. Since then the Piaget Polo has seen many iterations and it has been a pretty divisive model, but still a popular watch among Piaget clients and collectors. 

2023 welcomed a few new editions. Following the Piaget Polo Date watch in full black that was launched last year, the new steel model has a dark emerald dial, as an homage to the original polo fields. 

Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin

Since 2016 the Piaget Polo line has been broadened with skeleton and chronograph versions. In the last half century Piaget has earned recognition for its ultra-thin watch movements. This February the company presented a Polo model with the new 1255P 4mm thin movement for the first time. It is based on the ultra-thin 1200P by adding an additional mechanism for a Perpetual Calendar with moon-phases indication.

It features a cushion-shaped, 8.65 mm thick case, a dark emerald-green dial with a gadroon (a decorative edging, consisting of convex curves in a series) pattern and three sub-dials for the date, month (along with a leap-year indication) and weekday at 9, 12 and 3 o’clock, and a moon-phase indication at 6 o’clock.

At Watches and Wonders Piaget exhibited the Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in steel and in pink gold. Both have the interchangeable SingleTouch system for the bracelet, as the model comes with a comfortable rubber strap alternative – echoing the gadroon pattern on the dial.  

Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Obsidian

The star of the show and the new Piaget Polo line was a highly decorated version of this model, the Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Obsidian. As we have seen on the Piaget Cuffs, the semi-precious stones are a Piaget signature, and the brand adorned the 18-piece limited edition of this Polo piece with these. Formed by volcanism and considered a rock, obsidian was Piaget’s choice for the dial of the new Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar model. However they selected a rather blue shade of it, which together with green or transparent obsidian are very rare. This exceptional blue obsidian was paired with a white gold case and 56 brilliant-cut sapphires (approx. 1.88 ct) around the bezel.

Photo credits: Loupiosity.com
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