Have you ever done it? Bought a watch because the bracelet that comes with it is out of this world? Some watches are spectacular by themselves, but their bracelets are in a league of their own. Not many people know the effort that often goes into these bracelets. True, some of them are made almost completely by machine, while others hardly seen a machine at all. It is of course the last category that is the most interesting, yet also the most rare. Creating a bracelet from scratch is a craft that it is considerably rare. There are probably more watchmakers in Switzerland that can build a tourbillon, then craftsmen and -women who can create such a bracelet.

The fact that Piaget is one of the few brands that still nurtures this rare craftsmanship can hardly come as a surprise. The brand has a traditionally strong footing in the world of Haute Joaillerie, and refers to itself as the brand with two hearts. One of these hearts is the movement manufacture at La Côte-aux-Fées, high in the Swiss mountains, while the other is the manufacture in Geneva where cases, jewelry and bracelets are being made.

Traditional watches know how (2)

Being made from scratch is something that you can take quite literally, since all they start off with is some 18k gold tubes and rods. The tubes are cut at the desired length and decorated, forming the blanks of which the bracelet will be constructed. The tolerances for this are extremely small, since the parts all need to fit perfectly together and create a solid, strong yet supple bracelet that follows the shape of ones wrist with comfort.

Traditional watches know how (4)These blanks are set on 18K golden rods, creating a solid bracelet that is still extremely supple. Of course putting these rods and blanks together is only part of the deal. The edges of the bracelet have to be heated to high temperatures to create an eternal bonding between the rod and the outer bracelet blanks. Since with watches like this the line between watch and piece of jewelry is very thin, if existing at all, the finishing has to be perfect. The sides of the bracelet are therefor hand filled and polished to reach the perfect result.

Traditional watches know how (1)After this it is time for a very important part of the process; the marriage between the bracelet and the watch case. This is welded by hand, and quite a spectacular sight to see. Alignment is of course key, and here there is also another aspect of Piaget that comes to play; ultra thin watches also means ultra thin cases, making this part of the process a bit more complicated.

Traditional watches know how (3)The result is a type of luxury that is quite rare and also one that cannot be compared to a gold bracelet crafted largely by machines. The tight fit and the human touch result in a bracelet with fabric like qualities. Not only is it soft to the touch, but also follows it the shape of your wrist like no other bracelet will. This is also thanks to the small size of the individual links, which make the overall result very supple.

G0A37048Of course comes with the bracelet a watch, and in this case it is the one that Piaget named so fitting; Traditional. Ultra thin, it unites some of the most traditional aspects of watchmaking, all the result of remarkable craftsmanship and hand made. From it’s ultra-thin, yet highly decorated caliber 430P manual wind movement, to the dial that features 492 brilliant cut diamonds, and 12 garnets to indicate the hours. And of course the exceptional bracelet, something that sets this watch apart even from it’s fellow Piaget’s.

Martin Green
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics

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