There will be plenty of timepieces to delight and excite visitors at the Piaget booth. The manufacture will be “introducing more than 40 new products, all highlighting Piaget’s expertise in watchmaking and jewellery watches”, says Piaget SA’s CEO Philippe Léopold-Metzger.
“We are launching the Limelight Stella watch, the first automatic complication watch dedicated to women and entirely designed and developed in the manufactures of La Côte-aux-Fées and Geneva. This writes a new chapter in Piaget’s enduring love story with women. “We will also unveil ‘Secrets & Lights: A Mythical Journey by Piaget’ – a collection of 38 watches. This collection celebrates the union of haute horlogerie and the artistic craft, and shows both the level of creativity and skills of [our] designers and artisans.”
Léopold-Metzger says the market for women’s mechanical watches is expanding, although demand for quartz ladies’ watches is still higher. “The idea of our Limelight Stella was to offer an automatic watch with a large and attractive moon. When aesthetics and mechanics are perfectly in phase, you have a winning product. Limelight Stella will be a ‘star’ product in the galaxy of our new introductions at Watches&Wonders.”
The moon, the symbol of femininity, is seen at 12 o’clock, with its fan-shaped window supported by 14 diamonds. The moon window, with its deep blue, stands out against the white dial, while the gold stars pick up the gold in the case. The case itself is round but the dial is oval with a circle at its centre, a simple concept which creates an elegant difference. Diamonds pave the bezel, accentuating the subtlety of the case design, though there is a polished gold bezel version as well. An endearing detail is the gold star at the base of the seconds hand.
The Limelight Stella has a 36mm, 18ct pink gold case set with 126 brilliant-cut diamonds. The white dial has pink gold hour markers. There are white gold versions with or without diamonds. The Manufacture Piaget 584P self-winding mechanical movement, which has a 42-hour power reserve, can be seen through the sapphire caseback. This movement is precise. Whereas a standard moon phase lags one day behind every two and a half years, this system ensures that the Limelight Stella needs a one-day correction only after 122 years. Haute joaillerie versions of the Limelight Stella are powered by Calibre 580P, which does not have the central seconds hand. The finishes on both movements include circular-grained mainplate, bevelled bridges, circular Côtes de Genève, blued screws, or the Piaget coat-of-arms engraved on the oscillating weight.
The “Secrets & Lights – A Mythical Journey by Piaget” collection travels the Silk Road from Samarkand to Venice with 38 watches illustrating the beauty, mystery and enchantment of these ancient cities. A veritable treasure trove of exquisite arts has been used to make an amazing collection, without neglecting technical expertise. The Mythical Journey logo is engraved and enamelled on each caseback.
Watches in the “Lights of Samarkand” collection use rare gems and creative arts such as eggshell-inlaid lacquer, bulino engraving and micro-mosaic; those in the “Secrets of Venice” are distinguished by feather art, enamelling, micromosaic and engraving.
The 18ct pink gold Emperador Tourbillon XL Miniature Enamel Watch depicts a falcon in intense colours. It is powered by the world’s thinnest mechanical-shaped tourbillon, Manufacture Piaget 602P, with its flying carriage visible at 12 o’clock.
An Altiplano Cloisonné Enamel Watch in 18ct pink gold set with 313 brilliant-cut diamonds and 48 baguette-cut diamonds features the dome of the Ulugh Beg Observatory against a starry sky in cloisonné enamel. It pays tribute to the astronomers who identified more than 1,108 stars from the Observatory. The double rotation Polo Tourbillon Relatif shows a caravan crossing its deep blue enamelled dial.
The Piaget Limelight Secret Watch is housed in an 18ct pink gold case set with 449 diamonds. Inspired by the architecture of Samarkand, its mother-of-pearl and engraved gold star marquetry reflect palace splendour.
Piaget has close ties with Venice and the restoration of its monuments. The haute horlogerie in its “Secrets of Venice” collection salutes the city. A Piaget icon, the Altiplano, features feather marquetry detail – each feather touched with silver – while the 40mm Altiplano has 12 engraved appliques and stars crafted from gold or silver paillons (spangles) in two layers of grand feu enamel, inspired by the dial of the Clock Tower, which Piaget was instrumental in restoring.
The Protocole XXL in 18ct white gold is decorated in micromosaic by artist, Cesare Bella. A Double Jeu model shows a three-dimensional lagoon scene, complete with gondola, in relief engraving. Master engraver Richard Maier, a specialist in the bulino technique, took 75 hours to create the Venetian symbol of the lion on the Altiplano Bulino Engraving Watch in white gold.
The level of craftsmanship is astounding, and the imaginative use of materials excites the senses. For example, the Altiplano Scrimshaw Engraving Watch has a dial of mammoth ivory with a scrimshaw falcon. The falcon appears again in the Altiplano Eggshell Marquetry Watch, with minute pieces of eggshell assembled and lacquered to create the image. A double case is seen in other Altiplano models, in diamond-set pink gold and in one case, hand-engraving, and in another, plique-à-jour enamel and diamonds.
Cuff watches evoke the glamour of Venice. An onyx dial contrasts with a white gold and diamond bracelet; the dial of another Altiplano is studded with marquise-cut sapphires. Exceptional pieces in the “Limelight” series are pink and white gold diamond necklaces with secret watches. Piaget has also created an Altiplano High Jewellery Watch for the collection, in an 18ct white gold case set with 240 brilliant-cut diamonds and 48 baguette-cut diamonds. The gold dial is set with 444 brilliant-cut diamonds and 16 marquise-cut sapphires.
This is a superb way of facing the challenges to luxury watchmaking. Léopold-Metzger says: “The great thing about watches is that they are not in season one year, and out of season the next year. Great hands do products that can last for generations.”
And the future? “Asia is our strongest market, and it will continue to be so. As a brand we have spent a lot of time and resources on becoming again ‘the master of ultrathin’. We will concentrate on jewellery and also in developing the jewellery watches even further.”