Piaget’s 1970s-influenced, male-oriented sport-luxury fake Piaget Polo collection, whose most recent revamp had come in 2016, returned to the spotlight earlier this year with the release of the first Polo Skeleton models in stainless steel cases. Piaget had hinted at a renewed focus on the Polo collection in 2021 and the watch-and-jewelry house has delivered, by following up the steel-cased models with four additional pieces in gold — three of them diamond-set, two of those with fully paved cases and movements — unveiling them at Watches & Wonders 2021.
Like all of Piaget’s gold watches, the cases of the 42 mm replica Piaget Polo Skeleton — known for their “shape within a shape” design combining a round case with a pillow-shaped dial opening — are forged in Piaget’s own in-house gold foundry. The skeletonized, ultra-thin caliber 1200S is also crafted in-house, and the gem-setting on the movements and cases is all done on-premises by skilled artisans. Like their steel predecessors, the cases measure a contemporary 42 mm in diameter, with a slender Piaget profile of 6.5 mm thick. The non-gem-set model in 18k rose gold features dark blue details on the movement’s bridges and plates to contrast elegantly with the tones of the case and harmonize with the blue alligator strap, which is equipped with a quick-change system.
Another model in 18K white gold offers the same case dimensions, and the same blue colorways on the openworked dial and quick-change strap, but adds “a touch of glamour after dark” with its gem-set bezel, incorporating 56 sparkling, brilliant-cut stones. According to Piaget CEO Chabi Nouri, in an interview conducted during Watches & Wonders, the use of eye-catching colors was just the latest creative way in which Piaget has made its skeletonized manufacture calibers distinct. “In the last seven years, we have built 12 skeleton [timepieces], all from scratch,” Nouri says. “We approached them each very differently: some were decorated, some were engraved, paved, or set with stones. This year, we decided to treat them with color, starting with the steel blue and gray models earlier this year, and also worked on the finishing, making it sharper and more contemporary to match the look and feel of the Polo collection.”
Of course, Piaget has applied its legendary jewelry-making savoir faire to the new models as well. The High Jewellery version of the skeleton dial copy Piaget Polo dazzles with its white-gold case and flange, bedecked with 148 brilliant-cut diamonds and 132 baguette cuts, as well as its movement, whose key components are also forged from gold, hosting 292 brilliant-cut diamonds and 11 brilliant-cut sapphires. This version of the openworked movement, which like its non-gem-set sibling uses an off-centered micro-rotor to wind its mainspring, has been dubbed Caliber 1200Di and is, according to Piaget, the thinnest diamond-set skeleton movement in the world.
Integrating stone-setting into a watch movement, Nouri says, requires a high level of coordination between the creative teams, from designers to watchmakers to jewelers. “Everything impacts everything else,” she points out. ‘The weight of the hands and indexes, the complexity of the mechanism, the weight of the stones — it’s another reason why being fully integrated helps, because all of the people in all of the fields are truly working together.”