Gold & Color is the title of Piaget’s new exhibition in their Time Gallery. Two words that summarize a large portion of Piaget’s rich history. When Piaget wrote watchmaking history by introducing the 2mm thin manual wind caliber 9P in 1957, it was not about technical prowess, but much more about opening up a world of creativity for it’s designers. This ultra-slim movement, later of course joined by the equally famous automatic caliber 12P, gave designers the freedom to start a golden age of watchmaking by creating designs the world has never seen before.

Gold might be the obvious choice but not in the way Piaget used it. In the 1950’s they took the bold step to only produce watches in precious metals. Quite a statement, especially back than. But very soon it became clear why Piaget took this step. From their workshop emerged the most sensational gold watches, in original shapes and often fitted with bracelets that seemed to be sculpted, but where in fact so supple that the followed every curve of the wrist smoothly.

Piaget employee in the process of crafting a gold bracelet

Piaget employee in the process of crafting a gold bracelet

The beauty about Piaget is that they have always nurtured these skills, and that even today the bracelets at Piaget are not only made of gold, but also crafted meticulously by hand. An amazing process to see because craftsmen and -women bring together small, gold links, tubes and wire in a process that seems to be in the middle of sculpting and tailoring.

Stunning watch by Piaget at one of their earlier exhibition in the Time Gallery

Stunning watch by Piaget at one of their earlier exhibition in the Time Gallery

Besides gold did Piaget also use a lot of color in their watches. This color was conveyed by the use of precious and semi-precious stones. Over the years more than 30 different types of stone have been used by Piaget in their watches, ranking from diamond to turquoise, jade and lapis lazuli. Although some of these stones where also used as parts of the bracelet, most famous is Piaget for the use of them in dials. To achieve this they had to push the envelope hard, because when you create ultra-slim watches you also need ultra-slim dials. This required the technology to “slice” very thin layers off the stones you wanted to use. At the same time it was important that the dial could off course still be polished to show the richness of the mineral, as well as be printed with Piaget’s name and in some cases the numerals. The technical skills, effort and knowledge this requires is probably why Piaget is the only Swiss watchmaker that has used (semi)precious stones on such a large scale in their collections.

Piaget men's watch with Lapis Lazuli dial and caliber 9P on Yves Piaget Rose

Piaget men’s watch with Lapis Lazuli dial and caliber 9P on Yves Piaget Rose

For the exhibition “Gold & Color” Piaget gathered the most breathtaking pieces from their company collection and put them on display. Together they represent not only some of the core-value’s of Piaget, but also showcase the amazing skills needed to create these extraordinary watches.

The exhibition is located at the second floor, above Piaget’s Geneva boutique. When visiting it, make sure you also take a look at the lounge adjacent to the exhibition area. Here customers are received to discuss custom made pieces, and usually there are some sample-books around that are most certainly worth browsing through! But be warned, they are as tempting as they are beautiful!

Piaget’s exhibition “Gold & Color” is open from August 12th 2013 to March 31st 2014, and can be found in the Piaget Time Gallery above Piaget’s Geneva Boutique at Rue du Rhône 40 in Geneva.

Martin Green

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