Watch aficionados regard Piaget’s hard stone dial watches not only as jewellery, but as works of art. The black opal from the new Limelight Gala limited editions is bound to be sought after. Would you like to share how it came to Piaget? Thank you very much for your appreciation of this piece. It is true that sometimes stones can be a source of inspiration for our designers but, in general, everything starts with the design. Then it is up to our gemmologists and artisans to make it happen. In the case of the Limelight Gala High Jewellery, the opal comes from Australia as this is where we find the best quality. Then the hard part begins: cutting very thin slices of opal and stiffening them. I say ‘the hard part’ because at each step of the process — cutting, machining, gluing — there is a high risk of breaking the opal.
I love the motherofpearl dial too. It seems to convey a softer and more natural elegance. What inspired the selection of mother of pearl for these pieces?
This is exactly what you are saying. Our original idea was to combine the softness, refinement and femininity of the mother of pearl with the strength of the Limelight Gala. Engraving the palace décor on mother of pearl seemed the right choice for us, despite the difficulty of engraving a material that is naturally very thin — not more than 3mm — and fragile. This is the first time we engraved mother of pearl in this way.
Limelight Gala is such a colourful range. How do the designers refine the colour palette for each new collection?
Because everything starts with design, you need the best possible gemmologists to source stones of sufficient quality, true to the colours on the drawing and that can be cut to fit the different diameters we are looking for. We refuse to use chemical additives in our production process, so in the case of the Limelight Gala Rainbow, we had to mix different types of stones to find the perfect colours — sapphires of different colours, but also green tsavorites.
Preparations for this collection must have begun before the global lockdown. Were all the jewels obtained and colours confirmed beforehand?
I confirm the drawings were completed before the beginning of the pandemic. However, some stones were sourced during the pandemic. The quality and depth of colour required as well as our ethical standards made sourcing a challenge. All our suppliers must be certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council, so we took a multi-sourcing approach, working with several suppliers around the world to keep to our product plan.
Was the 2mm thin Altiplano Ultimate Concept (AUC) designed for men and women?
We try to create the most extraordinary pieces, not masculine or feminine pieces. It is up to our clients if they prefer small or large diameters, if they want a watch with complications or if they want to have some diamonds on the bezel. The dimensions of the AUC make it easy to wear for women and men.
What inspired the decision to feature the shiny red and shiny blue straps this year? What other colour straps are available?
We believe colour is an identifier of Piaget. Throughout almost 150 years of history, Piaget has used colour on its dials, notably by using hard stones, or on its bezels with coloured precious stones. Therefore, it was natural for us to adorn our collections and specifically our iconic Altiplano with colourful bracelets. So, in addition to the straps you mention, our clients may choose from a wide range of colours including taupe, white or pink (all matte) and shiny black. We will extend this strategy to other collections in the next few years to provide our clients with the option to change their bracelet (and therefore their watch) according to their mood or the occasion.