Piaget Art and Excellence Collection – the Altiplano Feather Marquetry; the Gold Lacework Altiplano Double Jeu and the High Jewellery Cuff Watch

At 2017 SIHH exhibition, luxury Swiss watch maker Piaget enhanced its Art and Excellence collection by presenting three new timepieces – the Altiplano Feather Marquetry; the Gold Lacework Altiplano Double Jeu and the High Jewellery Cuff Watch. These beautiful novelties pay tribute to the new creative heights reached by the Maison Piaget.

Piaget has dedicated the past five years to its jewellery icon, the Rose, creating beautiful variations highlighted through beautiful artistic craftsmanship. For 2017, Piaget continues in this tradition by showcasing its outstanding expertise in an extraordinary collection transcending the realm of creative liberty. Calling upon a sense of boldness and surpassing personal limits, together with shared pleasure and stylistic freedom, Piaget is entering a new territory this year: Radiance, an essential part of the Maison’s DNA.

The Swiss Manufacture is cultivating its differences and exclusive nature to provide not only a masterful demonstration of its mission to perpetuate forgotten crafts, but also its ability to distinguish itself in unusual and extraordinary fields. This involves a continuous search from the Maison to seek out the finest artisans in their respective fields, in order to create exceptional models which continue to push the limits of innovation.

Altiplano Double Jeu & High Jewellery Cuff Watch in Gold Lacework by Sara Bran
Finalist in the Prix Bettencourt (2010), honoured by the Grand Prix de la Création-MNRA (2011) and laureate of the Talent de la Rareté competition at the 2015 Sommet du Luxe et de la Création, Sara Bran dreams up, sketches and then crafts authentic jewellery that are glowing tributes to finesse and refinement. Sara has built a unique creative universe and an exclusive style. Better still, she has invented a profession which she is the only artisan to exercise: lace maker on gold.

Before specialising in this lacework created from thin plates of precious metal measuring just a few millimetres thick, Sara – a self-taught artisan unbound by the confines of academic practice – was involved in carving stone and marble to create monumental sculptures. Her passion for lacework became woven into her experience in Portugal, where she conducted research among art masters with a special focus on the popular and aristocratic lacework housed in the Decorative Arts Museum of the Foundation Ricardo do Espirito Santo Silva.

Altiplano Double Jeu Gold Lacework (G0A42061)
To recreate the lightness of lacework on a slim plate of pink gold, Sara Bran uses pointed scribing tools and a compass to trace the motifs, drills bits to pierce holes, as well as saw blades to cut out the metal using a highly specific skill – that of manual redrilling with a small hacksaw. Proceeding by opening up empty spaces, she gradually eliminates material to reveal – after countless hours at the workbench – a delicately sculpted lacework as fine as a super-thin thread. Piaget, which has become a specialist in fashioning gold, was destined to cross paths with this expert lacemaker. Witness the Altiplano Double Jeu and the exceptional High Jewellery Cuff Watch now featuring this exquisite craft.

A model emblematic of the Piaget style and expertise, the Altiplano Double Jeu with its two superimposed cases ideally lends itself to the lacemaker’s work. The diamond-set upper module is attired in the precious and dainty gold lacework with a radiating motif enhanced by marquise-cut diamonds.

The hours tick steadily beneath this magnificently transparent decor and a press on the dedicated pusher is enough to open the cover and reveal the minimalist white dial of the Altiplano, with its heart beating to the tune of the hand-wound 430P movement.

High Jewellery Gold Lacework Cuff Watch (G0A42062)
Proudly epitomising the Piaget style, this splendid High Jewellery model that also tells time is a vibrant hymn to radiance. On this Gold Lacework Cuff Watch, the lacemaker uses a powerful style vocabulary in taking on an unprecedented technical and artistic challenge.

The oval-shaped white opal dial at the centre of the work is framed by a diamond-set bezel. The gold lacework, beautifully enhanced by incredibly fine engraved leaf motifs, engages in a fascinating aesthetic dialogue with the prong-set marquise-cut or brilliant-cut diamonds, punctuating the lace and showering a luminous cascade across the exquisite lacework.

Altiplano Feather Marquetry by Émilie Moutard-Martin
After five years of studying psychology, Émilie Moutard-Martin changed direction. Her Master’s dissertation on artisans’ social identity revealed an inner passion for the physicality of hand-crafted creations, and by extension, a fascination for fashion and watchmaking. “What I love about fashion are the lines of a silhouette, a timeless look, the intimate relationship experienced with a garment worn directly on the skin, the idea of adorning while revealing, materials that stir the senses…. and above all, the artistic crafts associated with fashion and their skills that can also be applied to the field of decorative arts”, says this young woman who has become one of barely a dozen feather artists in France to date. It was during her training as a milliner that Émilie developed a crush on feathers, “a captivating organic material opening up infinite creative possibilities”.

In 2012, having mastered the techniques of feather art, Émilie opened her atelier in order to develop her own vision: that of lasting and meaningful objects bearing the imprint of the person who created them. Light and movement are the watchwords in her work. That same year, this adornment maker and feather artist was awarded the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris in the “Artistic Crafts” category. In 2015, Piaget undertook an original and singular cooperative endeavour with the feather artist who placed her expertise and her virtuosity at the service of Altiplano (G0A40595), the chic icon of ultra-thin horology whose dial was thus adorned in feather marquetry in order to create a unique series in the “Secrets & Lights – A Mythical Journey by Piaget” collection.

Altiplano Feather Marquetry (G0A42060)
Surrounded by boxes full of feathers of every colour and every size, the feather artist works like a painter in choosing her pigments and materials. Rigorously selected for its exact shade, its density and its texture and individually chosen to create the required effects, the feather is finally washed in soapy water before being stabilised in steam and meticulously recut by hand. Each feather is then smoothed, ready to be carefully arranged in its appointed place according to cleverly alternating contrasts and geometrical patterns. This enables the artist to reproduce the desired composition before being glued flat.

The miniature feather art technique is very similar to that of marquetry. Each touch must be accurate, guided by a quest for harmony calling for a combination of technical mastery and artistic vision. The feather artist’s creativity finds a privileged field of expression in feather marquetry, thereby creating a captivating visual poem. Once this virtuoso feat of craftsmanship is complete, the pure lines of Altiplano, the ultra-thin mechanical icon beating in step with the hand-wound 430P movement, are arrayed in a feather marquetry composed of a mixture of duck, peacock and rooster feathers, partially covered with silver leaf. This work represents an authentic challenge that involves handling the infinitely small with extreme care and calls for considerable expertise.

The result is a fascinating sight creating a truly mesmerising effect and a perfect optical illusion. The legendary peacock with its blue and green plumage, a symbol of immortality, appears to be spreading its majestic and radiant tail feathers in order to infuse the wrist with its magnetic strength. A fine work of art perfectly framed by a white gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds and admirably completed by the unique strap with its haute couture touch, also skilfully arrayed in feathers.

Technical details
Altiplano Feather Marquetry – 38mm, G0A42060
18K white gold case set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx.
0.71 ct)
Dial in peacock, duck and rooster feather marquetry, partially covered with silver leaf
Manufacture Piaget 430P mechanical hand-wound movement, 2.1 mm thick
Satin-look navy blue calfskin strap, 18K white gold pin buckle
Eventful strap adorned with peacock feathers
38-piece limited edition
Boutique-exclusive model
Available in boutiques as of April 2017

Altiplano Double Jeu Lacework on Gold – 38mm, G0A42061
18K pink gold case set with 52 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 2.30 cts)
Gold lacework decoration on the upper module, featuring 12 marquise-cut diamonds (approx. 1.60 cts)
White dial
Manufacture Piaget 430P mechanical hand-wound movement, 2.1 mm thick
White alligator leather, 18K pink gold folding clasp
8-piece limited edition
Boutique-exclusive model
Available in boutiques as of April 2017

High Jewellery Lacework on Gold Cuff Watch, G0A42062
18K pink gold cuff watch set with 382 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 11.07 cts) and 30 marquise-cut diamonds (approx. 4.74 cts), adorned with gold lacework
Piaget 56P quartz movement
White opal dial
One-of-a-kind creation
Boutique-exclusive model
Available in boutiques as of April 2017

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