Just when you thought you’d seen every material that could possibly be used to create a metiers dial – from straw marquetry to mosaics – Piaget surprises us by introducing a new one. At SIHH, it showed two new models with dials featuring the haute couture technique of silk embroidery using two methods: laminate couching thread embroidery and needle painting embroidery.
Laminate couching embroidery is a technique of beating gold or silver into gold or silver leaf and cutting the sheets into small ribbons and mixing it with colored threads. To create the dial, the silk is first stretched and attached to a support, so the artisan can trace the lines of the design, a laurel leaf. The embroidery artist then uses the needle to form a cannetille, a small filigree-type element composed of spirally twisted gold thread. The cannetille is then embroidered onto the silk, one detail at a time, using satin stitching and straight stitching. Altogether, it takes more than five hours of work and three meters of precious thread.
Needle painting embroidery is so-named because it resembles the work of an artist’s fine brush. The technique involves applying thousands of tiny straight stitches, using silk thread, to the silk canvas, which serves as the dial. Six different colors of silk, ranging from off-white to dark pink, were used to create the image of a rose in a subtly graded array of colors. Crafting this dial called for a full week’s work and nine meters of thread.