TIMEPIECES AND BEYOND
In 1874, in the Swiss town of La COte-aux-FEes , Georges Edouard Piaget?s intricate watch mechanisms captured their first moment in time. Fast-forwarding the clock 136 years, Piaget’s expertise continues in workshops at the same historic site-recently complemented by a hyper-modern factory on the outskirts of Geneva. Although Piaget is one of many watchmakers to have originated from the Swiss Alps, Geneva has a unique place within the history of horology.
In the year 1957 Piaget produced the ‘2mm-thick Caliber 9P’, a brand famed for its super-slim watch movements, a tradition carried to this day in recent models such as the Caliber 600P which, at 3.5mm, is the thinnest tourbillion movement in the world. This, however, was not Piaget’s only innovation: due to the lightness and slimness of its designs, the company became one of the earliest to transform the watch into a fully-fledged fashion accessory in the 60s, by placing miniature clock faces in lapis lazuli, turquoise and tiger’s eye, in a range of increasingly extravagant rings, cufflinks and necklaces. Piaget used this experience to launch its first independent jewelry line in 2002.
George Piaget, the founder of the company, was indeed a farmer turned watchmaker in the village of La- COte-aux-FEes, and later his sons guided the company through the economically challenging first half of the 20th century.
Originally specializing in the design and production of watch movements, Piaget expanded the scope of their expertise in the late 1950’s by launching astonishing jewelry-watches, followed by jewelry pieces of sophisticated and innovative design.
Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Piaget’s watches were marketed through other companies, but in the post-war era, the founder’s grandsons Gerald and Valentin Piaget, brought the family name to the forefront of the watch world, where it has remained to date, conserving Piaget’s proud motto kept: ‘You don’t read the time from a Piaget, you admire it?’
Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, Piaget manufactured ultra-thin, high quality movements. In 1943, Gerald & Valentin together with their father Timothe, registered the Piaget trademark and incorporated a new firm with a very long name – USA Ancienne Fabrique Georges Piaget & Cie., La La COte-aux-FEes . The company began making watches signed and sold as Piaget timepieces.
The effect of the new thin caliber watches was evident in the number of models ordered and in Piaget’s sales figures. It was probably the Company’s ‘moment in time’ when they changed from a brand that only the connoisseurs were aware of, to one which attracted the attention of public at large.
In 1957, the workshop in La La COte-aux-FEes developed an extraordinarily thin, manually wound watch movement referred to as ‘Calibre 9P’, and in 1960 Piaget’s watchmakers introduced the ‘Calibre 12P movement’ with a thickness of only 2.3 millimeters which was, at the time, the slimmest self-winding movement ever known.
These developments paved the way for Piaget’s designers to create increasingly sophisticated timepieces. The ‘jewel watch’ was Piaget’s present to the world of horology and its extreme thinness reflected its interior perfection.
Parallel to their coin, ring, brooch and cufflink-watches, Piaget embarked upon creating their very first ‘matin’e necklaces’, and in 1957 launched a men’s watch that was to become an icon: The Emperador’. In 1959, the Company opened a manufacturing facility in Geneva exclusively devoted to the creation of jewelry. Piaget’s chief jewelry store was opened the same year.
When the Swinging Sixties took center stage from the Rock & Roll years, and with fashion reflecting libertine attitudes, Piaget expanded their creations to include bigger shapes, bold colors, and greater affluence.
Young women admired the large, bold shapes and colors and older women could read the time without putting on their reading glasses. As an employee of the Company once stated: ‘With a Piaget watch on their wrists, they told me that looking at their watches gave them the pleasure of a simple, elegant gesture, accomplished with the nonchalance of ignoring their age?..’
This company, founded 136 years ago, has come to be regarded as a top watch making brand, with successful collections that feature amazing timepieces, which in time have managed to defy the canons of traditional watch manufacturing by virtue of their complicated movements and innovative functions.
It has also gained world-wide reputation for creating extremely feminine and irresistibly glamorous jewelry, such as the ‘Piaget Heart’ displaying sophisticated elegance; the ‘Possession Collection’ of wedding rings, matinee necklaces and the like.
Limelight Jazz Party Watch Collection
Piaget’s Limelight Jazz Party Watch Collection stresses on the idea of design and glamour more than anything else. Designed for women, this collection brings out everything that could attract and at the same time impress the female gender: a combination of style, sophistication and functionality. It is amazing how the designers from Piaget have managed to combine concepts of simplicity and glamour, discretions and diamond extravagance, in such exquisite timepieces that would soften the heart of any woman.
The new Piaget Limelight Collection is composed of three versions, one more glamorous than the other, but each defined by elegant individualism. Two of the models of this collection feature a more modern and casual strap made of black satin, while the design of the more sophisticated third model is completed by a bracelet made of white gold and adorned with brilliant-cut diamonds.
The Piaget Limelight Collection was reviewed as being one of the most eccentric collections of the past few decades, with a daring design approach that has converted designers of watch manufacturing into masters of ‘Haute Horology’. The watches are equipped with two individual Quartz movements to provide a second-time zone function. Some bracelets combine brilliant-cut and baguette diamonds with baguette spinels, simulating the keys of an enchanted piano, justifying the collection.
Piaget Watches at The 25th Biennale des Antiquaries in Paris
Piaget’s Limelight Paris-New York Jewelry
The Limelight Paris-New York Collection exhibited at the 25th Biennial des Antiquities explores the aesthetic aspects of two of the world’s most fascinating cities: Paris and New York.
The monuments of these two cities, representing authentic architectural icons, offer clearly identifiable and highly stylized motifs. These two fashion capitals also display immediately recognizable styles that are both irresistibly urban and unmistakably feminine. The cities of Paris and New York have captured the imagination of Piaget’s creative talents and craftsmen, eloquently illustrating the brands watch making and jewelry expertise.
Piaget has drawn inspiration from two key landmarks of Paris: the Eiffel Tower and the ‘Grande Roue’ (Ferris wheel) at Place de la Concorde.
The slender, luminous structure of the historical monument, the city’s universal emblem since 1889, has given rise to diamond-studded watch and jewelry creations: necklaces reflect the arches of the world’s most famous tower, a magnificent architectural feat also evoked by diamond-adorned cuff watches. The enchanting Ferris wheel, on the other hand, provides a pretext for amusing variations.
Secret watches and jewelry in motion, featuring tiny baskets of diamonds suspended from a rotating deck, are clearly reminiscent of its famous gondolas.
In an elegant interpretation of wild Parisian nights, a ruby and pink sapphire necklace simulates untied ribbons hanging along a plunging neckline. In the same fascinating spirit, Piaget introduces a fabulous cuff watch, a recurrent and emblematic object in the brands history. Entirely pave-set with diamonds, this watch literally wraps the wrist in light, evoking a luxurious corset delicately laced by a ribbon of square-cut diamonds, and also comes in a version with a colorful satin ribbon.
As for New York, Piaget has chosen to focus on two icons of the American dream: the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty in New York. A spectacular demi-parure features a necklace and earrings based on a design brilliantly reflects the illuminated roof of the Art Deco style building with its pure, irresistibly graphic lines. A variation of this jewelry collection adorned with sapphires and diamonds accentuates the roofline of the legendary skyscraper and sparkles like colorful lights against the night sky.
Whether used as a motif for a pendant, earrings or a watch dial, the graphic design of the seven rays of the diadem of the Statue of Liberty symbolizes the seven oceans. Inaugurated in 1886 as a gift from France to mark the anniversary of the independence of the United States, the famous monument was created by Bartholdi in cooperation with Gustave Eiffel for its metal frame. The entirely paved diamond watch case sets the precious stones dancing to the frenzied cadence of the city that never sleeps’