Gold and colour
Piaget fuses technique and design
In the early 1960s, Piaget once again demonstrated its pioneering spirit by launching a series of watches with hard stone dials, the radiance of which rivalled that of their gold bracelets. The glory of colour was borne out by over thirty different stones, while the chains and bracelets testified to boundless creativity and a rare technical mastery. This two-pronged virtuosity reflects a rigorous approach to excellence combined with deep rooted expertise, the quest for the avant-garde and the traditional watchmaking arts. This became the Piaget signature. The origin of this heady combination lies in one of the Manufacture's specialities: the ultra-thin movement. Presented at the Basel Fair in 1957, the Caliber 9P, measuring only 2 mm thick and with a generous diameter, created the potential for new forms of visual expression. It was nothing short of a revolution.
The technical and aesthetic innovation was first encapsulated in the form of watches whose dials featured coloured stones, then in an increasingly sophisticated use of gold. More than ever, quality and excellence lay at the heart of these exclusive and exquisitely designed models. Piaget craftsmen sought relentlessly to push back the boundaries of possibility. Whether in producing ultra-thin movements, working on hard stone with extremely precise tolerance limits or creating gold bracelets with all the suppleness of fabric. Piaget's expertise and its vocation as a jeweller were now established beyond doubt.
A palette rich in colours
Inspired by the extraordinary creativity of the 1960s, the Manufacture elevated hard stones to the status of precious stones. Piaget quickly seized on the benefits of using these materials and rapidly mastered the required cutting techniques. Colour became part of the brand's very DNA: jade, coral, lapis lazuli, tiger's eye or turquoise...
More than thirty different stones adorn the exceptional pieces. Their interaction with the light, their streaks and subtle nuances endowed each creation with a unique character. Taking inspiration from the Pop Art movement, Piaget procured some stunning visual effects through its various combinations of hard stones. These combinations soon made their presence felt in bracelets, transforming watches into jewellery pieces.
Hard stones: a world of symbols
With the appearance of hard stone dials, Piaget carved out a reputation for creativity and expanded into a powerfully symbolic and evocative world.
In the long artistic and cultural history of imperial China, jade had always enjoyed a very special significance, almost comparable to that of gold and diamonds in the West. It was used not only for refined objects and religious statues but also to decorate the tombs of high-ranking Imperial figures. The stone was regarded as the symbol of all that was good, beautiful and precious. It embodied the virtues of Confucius: wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage.
Famed for its iridescence, opal features in several legends linked to its composition and the difficulty of working the stone. From time immemorial, opal has been thought to have healing powers. It is also a symbol of purity.
Used in jewellery for several thousand years, in particular by the Egyptians, turquoise is said to be a talisman of protection and good fortune. In many of the cultures of Antiquity and the New World, this stone was seen as blessed, a harbinger of good fortune and protection. Its colour is evocative both of the sky and the sea. A deep blue stone, studded with pyrite giving it the magic of a starry sky, it was one of the first stones used by ancient civilisations for jewellery and decorative objects. The Egyptians and other people of the Middle East believed it had the power to ward off evil.
Among the hardest stones and therefore the most delicate to work, heart of ruby is distinguishable by its vibrant, warm, purple colour and offers protection from evil influences. Each stone harbours its own secrets, and the variety of colours is almost infinite.
Piaget displays rare virtuosity in its varied creations, with their blend of elegance and exclusivity. While Piaget toys subtly and delicately with colour, its designers also know how to harness it to more extravagant ends – which is where the Manufacture's goldsmiths come to the foreground.
Piaget the Goldsmith
As part of its never-ending quest for perfection, Piaget decided in 1957 to only manufacture watches in precious metals. This fundamental choice led to the integration of gold and platinum work and gave rise to an exceptional expertise. In 1961, Piaget acquired its first workshops specialising in working with gold, in a bid to bring its total production line under one roof. The Manufacture now had everything it needed to fulfil its ambitions.
Chain bracelets marked Piaget's first step in a quest which has since become part of its very fabric: seeking, creating, inventing new ways of fashioning precious metals in order to create sublime timepieces.
Today, the Piaget manufacture is one of the few to uphold the craft of jeweller-chainsmith in a workshop entirely dedicated to this art, in which numerous bracelet prototypes are carefully preserved – a genuine wealth of knowledge handed down through the generations. It serves also to perpetuate the Manufacture's expertise... illustrated by exceptional pieces from the brand's heritage, such as the cuff in yellow gold and coral, with its spectacular fringes of braided precious metal, or the long necklace, which bears resemblance to a precious chain mail.
Piaget uses colour, volume and material in an approach infused by artistry.