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The Millennium Watch Book
Piaget - Polo Tourbillon Relatif: Extreme Technical Prowess

Piaget Polo Tourbillon Relatif: Extreme Technical Prowess

When Piaget opted to re-invent its iconic Polo watch with a high complication in 2006, the brand could not have known it was creating a soon-to-be legendary tourbillon regulating organ for the new millennium*

Regularly setting world records with its cutting-edge ultra-thin movements, Piaget went above and beyond the laws of gravity when it unveiled its 608P calibre inside the Tourbillon Relatif watch in 2006. That manual-winding flying tourbillon movement, which involved many years of research and development stages, challenged the rules of both balance and inertia in watchmaking. Essentially, the brand took the tourbillon regulating organ, which is usually stationary in the watch movement, and suspended it from a single axis that rotates around the entire dial.

The concept of a mobile flying tourbillon cage had not yet been brought to life and Piaget’s timepiece rocked the watch world. The axis that plays home to the tourbillon cage is balanced on the opposite side by a hefty-sized minute hand that reaches to the outer minutes track on the dial. The minutes hand is precisely finished so that it weights exactly the same as the flying tourbillon on the other end in order to ensure pure balance. The ultra-thin tourbillon carriage makes one rotation per minute (a one-minute tourbillon), and the axis it is on takes it once around the dial every hour. With its constantly moving cage and the moving axis, the tourbillon looks as though it is not connected to the movement in any way. The optical illusion is not only confounding, but also incredibly mesmerising.

The tourbillon carriage features three bridges made in titanium and consists of 42 parts – all of which weighs just 0.2grams. Beating at 3 Hz, the movement is endowed with 70 hours of power reserve. So complex is this 608P calibre to create and build that Piaget only crafts between one and three of these watches per year. Since its introduction 15 years ago, in fact, there have been only 12 iterations of the Piaget Polo Relatif — making it one of the brand’s rarest watches.

Its most recent rendition of this tour de force timepiece, unveiled in 2020, utilizes the same ingenious movement, but showcases the watch in unparalleled glory thanks to an aventurine centre dial (the hour hand is located in the dial centre on a smaller aventurine plate) and an aventurine outer minutes track that is accented with stars and markers for the minutes. The rest of the dial of this star-themed watch, as well as the case and bracelet, is entirely ensconced with diamonds. It boasts more than 1,300 baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds totalling an unbelievable 50.50 carats. Shimmering from every angle, the 47mm 18K white gold watch is a one-of-a-kind creation.

Polo Tourbillon Relatif: Extreme Technical Prowess

Polo Tourbillon Relatif © Piaget

The combination of the highly technical aspect of the mobile tourbillon cage, set against such a superb diamond and aventurine dial, attests to Piaget’s artistic scope as well as its mechanical watchmaking prowess. Just the setting of the 1,300 diamonds takes a master gemsetter hundreds of hours to complete. The stones are then magnificently polished and inspected. This particular starry rendition of the Piaget Polo Tourbillon Relatif continues the 15-year-old tradition in dazzling style.

 

*This year GMT Magazine and WorldTempus have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years of the Tourbillon in  The Millennium Watch Book - Tourbillons, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book - Tourbillons is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English.

 

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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.

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