Last week in Switzerland, Haute Time had the opportunity to visit Piaget at the 2013 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. The manufacture’s US President, Larry Boland, gave me an inside look at the new pieces launched this year. Here’s your first look, straight from Geneva:
On the way to our meeting, I ran into Piaget’s Global CEO, Philippe Leopold-Metzger, who was in a great, joyous mood thanks to the launch of some really cool pieces. One of my favorite pieces was, not too surprisingly, the star of the show; the Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater. This was one of the most special pieces at the SIHH, and will undoubtedly be a huge success for Piaget in the year to come. This timepiece sets a double record for slenderness in its category: 4.8mm for its calibre, and 9.4mm for its case. This watch is exceptional – crafted entirely in-house, it is a huge accomplishment for a brand known as the leader in thin watches. Piaget‘s first minute repeater, this marks the fourth major complication developed by the brand (tourbillon, chronograph, perpetual calendar). The new 1290P Caliber represents the fourth proof of mastery of the watchmaking brand.
Another strong piece was the Piaget Black Tie Tourbillon, which as Larry noted, is Piaget’s thinnest Tourbillon. The watch is unique in that it has the tourbillon mechanism on the front of the watch; Piaget had to invert the movement, as normally the tourbillon mechanism for Piaget watches is on the back of the timepiece. The automatic rotor also features on the front of this watch, giving the face of the watch a very cool look – desirable for any watch collector. This complication was launched two years ago, but this piece was updated for this year. The Tourbillon is of white gold, and new this year is the DLC coating on the bezel giving it that a dark, stealth look.The movements were also darkened, adding to its unique look.
Next I got a look at Piaget’s Altiplano Date. A 43mm model similar to the one shown at SIHH was launched a few years ago, but this year Piaget set a new benchmark by bringing it down to just 40mm, while also adding a date complication (the first complication on an Altiplano model). This new timepieces also takes its place as the world’s thinnest watch in its category, in terms of both the movement and the case. Crafted in various versions of white gold and rose gold, we got our hands on the white gold.
Another special piece was the Altiplano Automatic Gem-Set Skeleton. A perfect marriage of horlogerie and joaillerie, this timepiece boasts a dazzling Caliber 1200D, whose mainplate and functional parts are entirely set with gemstones. An 18K white gold case shows off the incredible skills of the manufacture.
Finally, while I was reviewing the watches, I couldn’t help but notice Larry’s own watch – he was wearing the Piaget Polo Forty-Five. This flyback chronograph features a skeleton look that I thought was very Haute. Although this timepiece was not launched at the SIHH, I became a huge fan of this watch.
I saw some incredible timepieces from Piaget at SIHH. They showed me some beautiful ladies jewelry pieces that were beautiful, but of course my favorite was the Piaget Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater. This timepiece is definitely one of the top watches from the SIHH show this year.