At Piaget, fine watchmaking and fine jewellery coexist in a dazzling duo performance. As watchmakers, clearly inspired by the meticulous technical abilities handed down from one generation to another, they have achieved fame by setting records in ultra-thin watches. Today in La Côte-aux-Fées, as in their Geneva workshops, they pursue the art of the extremely slender, which demands extraordinary technical skills to the extent of realising the most complex horological mechanism, the tourbillon, in the thinnest ever movement.
Taking off from its technical springboard, Piaget has unleashed its creative talents to reveal watches of unprecedented sophistication to the most exacting watchmaking connoisseurs in Geneva in April 2007. The unchallenged virtuosity of these watches won immediate admiration and achieved a breakthrough in the art of jewellery. In Piaget’s Geneva workshops, currently the biggest in the canton, gemmologists select rare jewels, with an eye for their natural qualities and gem-cutting at the top of the scale of values.
Gem-setters are capable of feats of handiwork in subtle combinations of differently cut stones and custom constructions, creating volumes, adjusting outlines and eliminating the space between the elements. For this they master a technique known as the “Parisian mesh” that does away with the gaps between the links of a bracelet while giving it amazing flexibility. Piaget is also past master at construction with magical invisible mechanisms like those which drive the famous secret watches or the bezels of the Possession models in an aerial ballet. Piaget further demonstrates an ebullient imagination and a talent for taking up every challenge in mother-of-pearl inlaid work executed with the utmost exactitude.
The seven watches presented at the SIHH watch fair in Geneva in 2007 are a reminder that Piaget remains true to its motto of always doing better than necessary. These exceptional pieces together represent more than 5,500 hours of work, which, with almost 260 carats of gemstones, adds up to an estimated value of seven million Swiss francs. Each of these jewels of the watchmaker’s craft deserves to be examined in more detail to appreciate its enchantment to the full …
This unique piece hides a small quartz movement under a dial of white inlaid mother-of-pearl set in a module that drops down when closed. It’s an elegant way of avoiding a break in the gem-setting and of getting the height of the work in proportion. A new surprise lies in the discovery of a second watch — the world’s thinnest version of a form tourbillon highlighted in a diamond-rimmed dial, baguette hour-markers and a centre of Polynesian mother-of-pearl as well as a power-reserve indicator in inlaid coloured mother-of-pearl.
The case, encrusted with diamonds, each cut and set by hand, extends to a bracelet made in “Parisian mesh.” The central emerald-cut diamond is of the most sought-after colour (D) and weighs 3.35 carats. This unique piece has 1,211 diamonds weighing a total 97 carats. Setting them all one by one took more than 2,000 hours.
2. Piaget Polo Relatif Tourbillon – Ref.G0A32148
A new version of the Relatif Tourbillon, a huge success and exclusive to Piaget, features a mobile carriage rotating apparently disembodied from the movement at the end of the minute hand. Development took three years and the watchmaker needs almost a week to assemble each piece. The case is covered with brilliant-cut and baguette diamonds, each cut and set by hand. Each numbered piece sparkles with 731 diamonds weighing a total 19.3 carats. Setting them in sequence took 200 hours.
3. Piaget Polo Tourbillon – Ref.G0A32149
Designed for women, this watch features the Calibre 600P flying tourbillon, the thinnest in the world. The princess-cut and baguette diamonds are individually cut and set flat or upright by hand to follow the particular shape of the case. The dial, indicating the power reserve, is made of diamonds and finely inlaid mother-of-pearl. Each numbered piece is composed of 698 diamonds together weighing 13.5 carats and taking more than 200 hours to set.
4. Large Limelight watch in an extended cushion case – Ref.G0A32145
A parade of diamonds, cut and set by hand one after the other, transfigures the already sensual shape of the cushion case. The bracelet, the result of 400 hours of work, is made according to the ancient technique of “Parisian mesh” that minimises the space between the gemstones while keeping the bracelet supple. The large model ticks to the beat of the ultra-thin calibre 430 mechanical movement. 796, together weighing 45.6 carats, adorn each watch. It took 700 hours to set them all.
5. Small Limelight watch in an extended cushion case – Ref.G0A32144
This small Limelight model sparkling with intent to seduce women is fitted with a Calibre 157P quartz movement. Its rounded outlines are adorned with baguette diamonds, cut and set one by one by hand. The bracelet aligns gemstones with the minimum of daylight between them, yet remains amazingly pliant thanks to the technique of “Parisian mesh” which Piaget carefully cultivates. Each watch totals 544 diamonds for 37.4 carats. The gem-setter’s work took more than 700 hours.
6. Possession watch with diamonds – Ref.G0A32086
The case of this special Possession watch has been entirely redesigned to be dressed in light reflected in round and baguette diamonds, each of which has been individually cut and set by hand. The turning bezel unhesitatingly embarks on its circular flight at a touch on an inverted gemstone. The 896 diamonds set in each watch amount to 35.9 carats. The gem-setter worked for more than 600 hours to set them all.
7. Possession watch with diamonds and a satin strap
This incomparable Possession watch wears a tuxedo. The case is covered in round and baguette diamonds individually hand-cut and hand-set. A black sapphire, matching the satin strap, acts as a marker to set the bezel on a circular flight path. 503 diamonds, together weighing 10.3 carats, embellish each piece. More than 100 hours of effort was needed to set them all.