Piaget Rock legend
Piaget, at the crossroads of jewellery and watchmaking, spotlights the fascinating colours of these beautiful but not necessarily precious stones.
These rocks aren’t precious; sometimes they are labelled semi-precious stones or hardstones, but they can all be classified as gemstones, which at least puts them on speaking terms with their more prestigious cousins. Their names are onyx, malachite, cornelian, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and even ruby, in its irregular, opaque variant that doesn’t share the same properties as the more familiar precious jewel. Others, like coral and mother-of-pearl, are not stones, but they’re more valuable and perhaps more well-known. They are all capable of being sliced into thin sheets that are robust enough to cope with having a hole drilled through the centre to mount a pair of watch hands. One watch brand that has always recognised their beauty and showcased it to advantage is Piaget. This pioneering use of colour has its roots in the brand’s history.
Possession green malachite; Possession deep blue lapis lazuli; Possession Cuff green malachite; Possession red carnelian; Possession bright turquoise © Piaget
Around the mid-sixties, popular culture exploded in a way that no one could have predicted. The Swinging Sixties, the London scene, free love, the first hippies and India’s burgeoning influence on European tastes unleashed a frenzy of different colours and shapes. The jewellery industry jumped straight on board. Around that time, Piaget was a very conservative brand and a traditional family firm, but it was nevertheless able to capture the spirit of the times with jewellery creations that reflected the popular fashion. One of the main elements of this style, which we came to know as bohemian chic, or hippy chic, was the use of colour.
Altiplano with opaque ruby dial; Altiplano with dial in onyx, obsidian and slate-grey jasper marquetry © Piaget
Piaget went for gemstones that were not traditionally used in mainstream jewellery, because they offered a broader colour palette. They were also far more affordable then precious gemstones, which meant they could be used in larger formats and with a highly ornamental style, further expanding the creative possibilities. In watchmaking, their role was on the dial.
Vintage Inspiration watch with lapis lazuli dial © Piaget
Fifty years later, Piaget has not forgotten this culture, which has left its mark on the company’s flagship watch collections. Altiplano, precious Manchettes, Extremely Lady, Vintage Inspiration, Altiplano Tourbillon – practically every collection comes with the option of a decorative mineral dial.
Manchette in gold, turquoise and pink mother-of-pearl © Piaget
The result, whether for women, where vibrant colour steals the limelight from conventional gold and diamond backdrops, or for men, is simply stunning. Indeed, before the explosion of colour that began with the discovery of blue ten years ago, the possibilities for men’s watches were extremely limited. Even today, Piaget is one of the only watchmakers to offer dials made of vivid green malachite, vibrant blue lapis, onyx blacker than the very finest grand feu enamel, and warm red cornelian with a subtle orange tinge like the final moments of a summer sunset.
High Jewellery Cuff watch with opal dial © Piaget
One hundred and forty years’ worth of uninterrupted history have allowed Piaget to forge its unique jewellery and watchmaking expertise. The Brand is a genuine Fine Watchmaking manufacture that brings together the art of ultraflat technology and the finest jewel-setting, characterised by its undyingly elegant and refined aesthetics.Find out more >
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