SIHH 2013 PuristSPro Report: Piaget (M.Teillol-Foo & PuristSPro Team)
Meeting the clients in-person and showing the products is important in the Piaget culture. This is personal and different from some brands whose CEO suddenly this year "do not hold personal meetings at SIHH".
Not just a master jewelller or master watchmaker, Piaget is also master of personal relationships. That is what the SIHH is for; meet the people - show the products - take the orders.
As usual, the ambience at Piaget was like a cocktail reception with their house palette of blues to purples.
Piaget Artisans on Show
Piaget brought some of their watchmakers, gem-setters and bracelet makers so we could see close up what they could achieve with just a flick of a finger or a swipe of their tools; truly amazing!
Last year’s (2012) Star of the Show: Piaget Automatic Altiplano Skeleton.
PIAGET CEO Philippe Leopold-Metzger announced the 2013 themes.
Piaget: Master of Ultra-thin.
Piaget: Jeweller of Watchmakers.
Piaget: Integrated Manufacture has now realised the five key haute horlogerie movements entirely in-house. These are Automatic Ultra-thin, Fly-back Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar, Automatic Tourbillon and Automatic Minute Repeater.
2013 Star of the Show: Piaget Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater.
Piaget sets another double record for ultra-thin in this category; 4.8 mm movement and 9.4 mm case. The cushion-shaped 1290P movement is entirely conceived, developed, produced, decorated and assembled by Piaget. It is adorned with the highest finishing. The founder’s motto is the new hallmark of top models from Piaget. The French for “Always do better than necessary” is engraved proudly on the dial: Toujours faire meux que necessaire...
The technical difficulties of constructing such a thin movement were challenging. Some wheels are only 0.12 mm thick, scarcely more than the proverbial “hair’s breadth” (0.08 mm). Some components are even smaller at 0.07 mm! The micro-rotor is made of pink platinum to guarantee the best possible winding power within a minimum thickness. Of course, the density of platinum achieves the technical requirement but the pink colour is purely aesthetic.
Pushing the limits of horology required certain construction choices. The decision to display the hammers on the bridge side and to reverse the repeater slide device (pushed downwards instead of upwards) impacted upon the size of the movement. Calibre 1290P is equipped with a surprise-piece device to ensure optimal hour jump at the end of the 59th minute; thus the striking mechanism indicates the exact time to the nearest second.
The hammers are made of steel to ensure optimal hardness-to-weight ratio. The gong is one-piece to guarantee transmission of vibrations through the movement and the case. In order to preserve the purity of this sound, the calibre is equipped with an inertia flywheel to regulate the rhythm.
Human conversation reaches an average of 65 decibels. Calibre 1290P chimes at 64 decibels. For the musically inclined, the strikes are in the 5th octave with hours pitch at G sharp and minutes at A sharp. The sound lingers pleasantly because of a damping factor of 2600 – the target limits being 2000 – 3000. Having developed a chime that is intense and regular, Piaget managed to eke out three virtual harmonic partials despite using a fixed gong.
The 48 mm-diameter case is also a technical marvel since it plays an essential role in sound transmission. It was hollowed out to maximum limits to achieve optimal resonance. Four braces secure it to the calibre to ensure transmission of vibrations from the gong. There is a gong base that is interconnected both with the movement and the exterior via 4 screws. There is also an ingenious mechanism beneath the bezel to ensure the water resistance. Yes – this is a water resistant minute repeater.
With 69 components, the 9.4 mm thick case of the world’s thinnest automatic minute repeater involved a complex equation to achieve three objectives: uncompromising technical mastery, superlatively pure acoustics, and aesthetic appeal with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces.
2013 Other Novelties:
Piaget Limelight Gala
This may be poised to become the iconic watch shape for Ladies like Altiplano is for Gents.
Piaget chose three adjectives for the design brief: Brilliant, Vibrant, and Seductive. The design motif was to accentuate the feminine curve; a round case is enveloped and accentuated by two elegant extended lugs. The final case silhouette is distinctive even from across the cocktails room.
This IS the distinctive and seductive feminine case from Piaget but the ladies don't know it yet. It will grow on them if Piaget plays their game well. As Submariner is to Rolex or Royal Oak is to Audemars Piguet or even, Altiplano is to Piaget, 'Gala' (or more strictly: Limelight Gala) will be to feminine Piaget. They must support it and promote it appropriately to achieve its full potential.
The bezel and extended lugs provide ample real estate for gem setting. The space is enhanced further with the substitution of metal bracelet for the satin strap and gem-setting the dial as well.
Available in white gold with satin strap and 2 levels of gem-setting: bezel / lugs and bezel / lugs / dial plus the full bracelet full paved version.
Available in pink gold with satin strap and 2 levels of gem-setting; bezel / lugs and bezel / lugs / dial.
Piaget sums up their hopes for this new line thus: “At the crossroads of art, design and jewellery, it whimsically defies the infernal spiral of time.”
Personally, I think the whilte gold model with minimal diamonds on the bezel is best to show off the unique case and lugs.
Piaget Altiplano Date 40 mm
This the worst kept secret and the longest awaited development of the Automatic Altiplano introduced as a 43 mm watch in 2010. Piaget fans have been asking…nay, demanding a 38 – 40 mm model since. We got the 38 mm Automatic Altiplano Skeleton in 2012 and it was widely expected the 40 mm model would debut in 2013.
The twist that Piaget sprung was the addition of a date window that justifies the new 40 mm case.
Despite the addition of a date disk, the 3 mm thin 1205P in the 6.36 mm thin case hold the records for thinnest automatic date movement and an automatic date watch.
In the automatic extra flat or ultra-thin gents' category, Piaget now has the product to compete. The favourite diameter for a gentleman's watch plus a date function that has not been before on an Altiplano. That is surely a good place to embark on world domination!
Piaget Automatic Gem-Set Skeleton
Movement 1200D is the first ever, and thinnest (3 mm), automatic gem-set skeleton movement in the thinnest watch case (6.1 mm) in this class. Both the movement and watch case are gem-set.
Even after being adorned with 259 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.8 ct) and 11 black sapphire cabochons (approx. 0.2 ct) set within a diameter of 31.9 mm, the movement is still 3 mm thin. This exceptional gem-setting requires four days of work for each movement.
Paving the entire mainplate also requires paving the functional parts – the enormity of this feat is unrecognised by non-jewellers. Piaget master-jewellers even concealed screw threads beneath black sapphire cabochons.
I realise now that my original report did not elaborate on the significance of this novelty at SIHH 2013. It is simple: No other brand can do this now. They will catch up as they invariably do..... but for now, Piaget is the only master jeweller of the watchmakers that can gem-set an ultra-thin skeletonised movement.
Piaget is the jeweller watchmaker that other jeweller watchmakers look to for inspiration and direction. It is to Piaget that other jewellery watch brands look to for their watch components inside and outside......the movements both regular and gem-set, the cases, and the bracelets.
At just 6.10 mm thick, the case also sets an ultra-thin record for this watch class – adorned with 40 baguette diamonds (approx. 3.2 ct) on the bezel. The middle, crown, lugs and even the sapphire crystal case back, are set with 347 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.4 ct), while the strap buckle sparkles with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.06 ct).
The may be the ultimate Altiplano man-bling and certainly achieves the Piaget themes of Master of Ultra-thin and Jeweller of Watchmakers. In reality, I suspect that quite a few ladies will somehow get their hands on one of these masterpieces to become lady-bling as well.
Altiplano Automatic Skeleton Black
This is a new variant of last year's favourite. There is always something special about this colour combination for men in general and PuristS in particular. if only we knew why....?
I make special mention of the re-designed Piaget Polo case. We will return to an in-depth discussion of this but I wanted to highlight the relevance of the changes. Piaget introduced the new Gouverneur case last year to be the elegant range to hold minor complications; that freed the Piaget Polo designers to pursue a sportier but contemporary and ergonomic case.
Note the curvier silhouette for aesthetics and ergonomics around the wrist that now brings the Piaget Polo in line with its erstwhile Polo FortyFive derivative. The shiny and satin-brushed finishes are more pronounced and include the integrated lugs.
Collection Couture Précieuse
Piaget is renewing its tribute to feminine beauty with the continuation of its "Couture Précieuse" collection. Piaget expanded its Couture Précieuse collection by making some of the models unveiled at the Biennale des Antiquaires, but in rose gold.
Piaget is famous for their stone dials, cuff bracelets and jewellery watches. The offerings for 2013 continue that tradition.
The 1970s chain cuff watch makes a reappearance. Note the fine and intricate coiled wire work by the jewellers. This is an ancient technique that could only be revived for 2013 because a genius veteran at Piaget found a way to attach a special set of links that can be adjusted without having to return the piece to Geneva.
This meant that small adjustments to bracelet sizing can be done at Piaget boutiques and makes the new 2013 watches more accessible and instantly useable to the new owners.
The thin strap watch (ref. G0A38206) has been created in rose gold with a white satin strap for added softness and femininity. Its ultra-thin case set with diamonds (brilliant-cut and baguette-cut) reflects the sumptuous lines of a silhouette. This small watch is the must-have of elegant couture. It pays tribute to Piaget style of the 1960s.
After displaying the “brandebourg” motif, the ornamental braiding on male ceremonial costumes at the Biennale des Antiquaires, Piaget is now playing with more feminine ornaments. Knots and precious buttons are explored in this recent, couture-inspired collection.
The flat knot, created in 2008 in the Paris – New York collection, is now included in the Couture Précieuse Collection and adorns necklaces, rings, bracelets and brooches. Striking and stylized, it is set with black spinels and diamonds, evoking mystery and seduction.
The often discreet but functional button is currently the star of Piaget jewelry. Enhanced by noble materials, it fits in perfectly with the new creations in the Couture Précieuse collection and its very couture-inspired design. Piaget has managed to make this ornament both precious and decorative by adorning it with precious stones and cultured pearls. A button to be worn with the utmost elegance.
At Piaget, when they say "intergrated manufacture", it is not just a marketing buzz-phrase but an actuality. They essentially make what they say they make. I make no excuses for the dirty fingers and tool marks for this is what they showed us....real craftsmen HAND-making their products. Even with the help of modern machines to do the rough cutting and milling of parts, always at Piaget the final finishing and quality control is by human hand and eye.
I think the 2013 line-up from Piaget achieves the thema set out by the brand and also positions them to continue their upward trend in sales and popularity amongst the new cogniscenti.
To post comments, please go to MTF's original post in Piaget forum, http://piaget.watchprosite.com/show-forumpost/fi-881/pi-5718888/ti-843543/s-0/