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History of Piaget

Piaget, "Manufacture d'Horlogerie" since 1874, holds a key position in the luxury industry and occupies a specific niche: top of the range watches, entirely hand-crafted in 18-carat gold and platinum, reflecting the unrivalled prestige of a longstanding watch making and jewellery tradition.

"Always do better than necessary." This was the watchword of Piaget's founder over a century ago, and it remains the credo of the "Manufacture." A spirit based on high standards and perfectionism which has been perpetuated, to the point where it has become the quintessence of all Piaget's new creations. La Côte-aux-Fées, at the very heart of the Swiss Jura, epitomizes the origins and soul of Piaget; in its traditional workshops, watches are crafted in harmony with a creative spirit which makes these models worthy heirs to their illustrious founder.

For Piaget craftsmen, the art of "dressing" a watch relies on painstaking attention to the slightest detail, each of which adds its own special touch of elegance: a diamond perfectly calibrated and adjusted by hand by the jeweller; a bracelet chased with infinite precision by the engraver, a movement assembled by means of several hundred incredibly delicate gestures performed by a highly experienced master-watchmaker. After 3 years of research efforts representing a 3.5 million Swiss franc investment, 1997 marked the completion of 2 new calibres.

Uniquely in 18-carat gold or platinum and lovingly fashioned by hand, the watch and jewellery collections each represent one facet of Piaget's infinitely varied talent:

  • symbolic of creative renewal with the Tangara line of watches and jewels
     
  • watch making tradition through the exclusively mechanical Gouverneur line, or in limited edition the Gouverneur wristwatches with "grande sonnerie" movements
     
  • sporty elegance with the Piaget Polo collection
     
  • undisputed legitimacy as a specialist in ultra-thin watches (the famous 9P calibre developed by Piaget in 1956) combining in 1997 technical mastery with resolutely original aesthetic appeal to create a new ultra-thin men's watch (9P2 calibre 2.15 mm thin).
     
  • a new look with the Protocole, Piaget's best-seller for over 30 years.
     
  • opulence, with the often unique and specially commissioned Haute-Joaillerie watches.

Piaget has found means of balancing its worldwide distribution by pursuing two distinct yet complementary goals: on the one hand, highly selective distribution in accordance with its own demanding quality criteria; and, on the other, a limited number of strategically located boutiques under its own name, superb showcases for effectively projecting the Piaget image.

From the beginning, Piaget chose to deal with the world's most prestigious watch making and jewellery sales outlets, with a view to building a genuine partnership based upon mutual respect and recognition. Despite a wide geographical presence in over forty countries, Piaget has developed a selective and cohesive distribution network through 900 points of sale by consistently choosing as partners the finest watch making and jewellery specialists.

The 10 Piaget Boutiques arose from the determination to provide a fitting setting which would portray the brand's history and image, and convey the atmosphere of the Piaget world. The first Boutique opened over 30 years ago in the prestigious Rue du Rhône in Geneva, cradle of a noble watch making tradition. This flagship Boutique's initial vocation was to represent the full range of watch and jewellery collections. Today the Boutiques, whether in Paris, Monaco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Barcelona, London, and Mumbai, have become precious showcases for the exclusive Boutique creations: extraordinary Haute-Joaillerie sets, limited series of mechanical watches, jewellery collections scintillating with precious stones.

Since its foundation in 1874, the House of Piaget has given Time a new dimension, illuminating over a century of watch making history through its technical skills and artistic genius.

Initially, Piaget was a manufacturer of movements and a valued supplier to numerous watch making firms. It was only towards the middle of this century that Piaget placed its name on the dials of the watches it created, thereby developing its own instantly recognisable and inimitable style and finding its place among the selective ranks of the genuine "Manufactures".

The Piaget legend was born with the technical pursuit of ever-slimmer watch movements. Piaget succeeded in designing and producing a hand-wound mechanical movement of only 1.35 mm, the slimmest in the world and so thin that it can be housed within a ten-dollar gold coin...  Subsequently, PIAGET launches its famous "9P" mechanical movement - still used today in the classic mechanical ladies' and men's' collections - along with the first ultra-thin automatic and electronic movements.

All Piaget movements are crafted in the workshops of La Côte-aux-Fées, in accordance with time-honoured savoir-faire, often handed down from one generation to the next. Piaget remains one of the rare Swiss watch making "Manufactures" to have vertically integrated workshops involved in all phases of production, including its own gold foundry.

The exclusive nature of Piaget movements is further emphasised by the unique style of the cases and bracelets in 18-carat gold or platinum, the only raw materials Piaget allows to enter its workshops. The slimness of its movements enabled Piaget to become a pioneer in the realm of watches embellished with gemstones, using lapis lazuli, coral, mother-of-pearl, tiger's eye and onyx in an amazing symphony of dials which appear to customers increasingly eager for colour and variety. Then came the launch of Haute-Joaillerie watches, confirming PIAGET's creativity and originality and earning it the coveted title of "the jeweller of watch making".