It is no secret that Piaget knows how to cater to the ladies. The recipe is a clever mix of precious metal and diamonds, brought together in uncommon shapes and fitted with a mechanical or a quartz movement. Yes, Piaget is well aware that it takes both to cover the market, since the question of whether ladies prefer quartz or mechanical is still undecided. Being a pioneer in quartz-movements, Piaget is one of the very few manufactures that even today still makes its own quartz movements. They do so with the same care and dedication that they put into their mechanical movements, and that includes quite a bit of manual labor as the image below, taken at Piaget’s movement manufacture in La Cote-Aux-Fees, illustrates. The same manufacture also builds the mechanical movements used in the ladies watches.
Piaget can be considered nothing less than an authority on designing and crafting haute horlogerie movements, and this in-house capability continues to give Piaget exceptional freedom to design extraordinary watches for ladies. Many of these exceptional watches are part of the Limelight Collection, which Piaget refers to as expressing “Ultimate Femininity”.
With flowers as an inspiration the result is especially elegant and feminine watches. Piaget does not use just any flower for inspiration, but the famous Yves Piaget rose. This rose was the creation of Jacques Mouchotte, of the famed rose-breeder Meilland, who created a very large rose in a rich mauve-pink color with ruffled edges on the petals and a very rich fragrance. In 1982 this rose was entered into the Geneva International New Rose Competition, in which long time rose connoisseur Yves Piaget was a member of the jury. The rose brought home the top prize and was christened the “Yves Piaget rose”. People familiar with the Yves Piaget rose will wholeheartedly agree that it most certainly will steal the limelight of other roses, and can be a strong source of inspiration for anybody, watch designer or not. Piaget translated the rich look of the Yves Piaget rose into the Blooming Rose watch. In this watch the dial forms the center of the rose, with gold petals reaching outward from it, set with colorless, brilliant cut diamonds. With a slight twist of the case, more diamond set petals are revealed, putting the watch in full bloom. This playful complication requires exceptional precision when being crafted to keep the illusion that the petals should overlap, yet not touch, asking the utmost of not only the case maker, but also the diamond setter.
The Blooming Rose is also one of those watches that actually benefit from being powered by a quartz movement. It means that there is no need for a crown, which would not complement the design; instead the watch has a pusher and uses a special pin to set the time. A convenient way to set the time in those sparse moments that this is actually necessary, while also a comfortable one, since you still have a smooth caseback.
That Piaget’s creativity knows little boundaries becomes especially clear when you compare the separate models within the limelight collection to each other. Where the Blooming Rose breathes romance, the Gala watch shows asymmetrical elegance. Apart from the necessary crowns and pushers, most watch brands design their watches as symmetrical as possible, since this is often the most pleasing to the eye. Watches like the Gala show that there is also a different way. Two lugs, opposite to each other, wrap around the dial, making part of the strap seemingly unattached to the case. The result is an ultra elegant watch that boasts modern femininity.
It is also remarkable how different the same watch can be in slight variations. In rose gold, with a diamond set bezel and lugs, the stylized Roman numerals give the watch a modern look, making it perhaps an obvious choice for everyday attire. The white gold version, featuring a pavé setting of colorless, brilliant cut diamonds is a whole different animal. It has a not-to-be-ignored presence that can make it the star of any gala, or perhaps a more rebellious choice for every day . . .
With either choice, or actually any choice within the collection, Piaget knows that details matter. Brands are sometimes criticized when they have as much a jewelry background as one in watchmaking but the fact of the matter is that those brands are able to add another layer of sophistication to their watches. This sophistication can often be found in their approach to details. The crown on the Gala watch is an excellent example of this. Recessed, to not interrupt the design of the case, it is also highlighted by a polished rim on an otherwise satin finished case.
The same can be said of the crown of the Limelight Tonneau watch. Here it is allowed to play a more prominent role in the overall design, and to show off the white ceramic cabochon with which it is set. The tonneau-shape has long been one of Piaget’s preferred shapes to craft watches in. Interesting also is that the Limelight Tonneau features a stepped bezel, that especially set with diamonds, gives the design of the watch a sense of depth.
Piaget is also a manufacture that still makes form-movements. Nothing is more pleasant than seeing a tonneau shaped watch that features a movement in the same shape. Caliber 438P might not look like it due to its shape, but it is actually a direct descendant of the legendary ultra-thin caliber 9P. It is therefore that the caliber 438P’s thinness of only 2.1mm is not a surprise. Decorated with blued screws, hand chamfered edges and circular Cotes de Geneve, this movement is as haute horlogerie as it gets.
When a watch is set with diamonds, Piaget makes sure that they also adorn the buckle. A delicate strip of brilliant cut diamonds can not only turn the buckle into an attraction by itself, but also unites in design with the watch itself.
Unique shapes anchor most of Piaget’s collection. The great thing about these shapes is that the watch itself doesn’t have to be large in order to have a strong presence. These long rectangles with cut off corners featured in white gold may not be large, but sure create lots of visual impact. With a bezel set with colorless, brilliant cut diamonds, the dial can feature either a black dial or a diamond set dial, each with their own character.
Instead of leather, Piaget often opts for satin straps within the Limelight collection which is a very elegant option. On watches that are smaller, Piaget still incorporates diamonds in the buckle, yet only goes for one. Again this is the eye for the detail that makes all the difference, and it also shows that one diamond can really make the difference.
Oval was already a Piaget favorite before the Gouverneur came around. In the Limelight collection it was used in the horizontal position, featuring once again black or diamond set dials, surrounded by a diamond set bezel. Once again it is a quartz movement that makes the construction of this watch possible, especially since this one also doesn’t feature a crown, but the same setting pusher as featured in the Blooming Rose watch.
With the Limelight collection Piaget really puts femininity in the spotlight, with enough choices to suit women from any walk of life, no matter if they prefer quartz or mechanical. This diversity also shows the true power of Piaget, since each watch still has the distinct Piaget look while remaining a character of its own.
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics