The annual creation of exceptional models has significantly contributed to forging the reputation of the brand. At Piaget, creative freedom and daring are cardinal virtues serving to reveal the spectacular expertise of its craftsmen.
Presented five years ago, the first mysterious watches had aroused considerable admiration among connoisseurs. The stunning entwined leaves model unveiled this year embodies a new way of expressing the exquisite purity of plant-life through a jewellery creation. This artistic feat called for no less than 1,275 hours of development and 675 hours of gem-setting to achieve a result imbued with matchless magic.
Acknowledged for its creativity, the Maison Piaget encompasses a number of outstanding artists and artisans. At the beginning of each project, at the start of each creation are the first lines and a first sketch that gradually takes shape. Beneath the thin brush of the designer, the lines and curves of the jewellery-watch begin to emerge. Initially represented as a gouache painting, shadows and contours reveal the size of the gems and provide a first true glimpse of the timepiece to be created (Photo 1).
From the first paper version, the jewellery-watch turns to wax. For the first three-dimensional model, wax gives the artisan the opportunity to materialise his sketch. He can thus grasp the volumes of the model, carefully study its proportions and ensure a pleasing harmony between the various parts (Photo 2). Production as such begins here. For each cover of this creation, the jeweller places a piece of precious metal on an asphalt die or mould. He then punches it using a round-headed tool so as to progressively fashion the desired shape (Photo 3). Once the jeweller has given the covers their final shape, he openworks them by creating holes into which the gemstones will be placed. He does this using a small hand-held saw. A blend of dexterity and experience is essential in order to fashion such cavities that are all of varying shapes (Photo 4).
The model is now ready for gem-setting. Still in its rough state, it serves a chassis that will eventually hold dozens of sparkling diamonds (Photo 5). In close cooperation with the gem-setter, the jeweller then rigorously selects the diamonds destined to adorn the leaves. His expert eye analyses their size and enables him to adjust them according to the receptacles specially created for this purpose (Photo 6). The gem-setter then tests the place of each diamond by inserting it into its future setting. In the process, he detects any potential ill-fitting gems and has them corrected by the cutter who ensures they are the ideal shape (Photo 7).
The two white gold leaves in due course entwine around a third leaf-shaped shell housing the watch. This stage enables the jeweller to ensure that all three interlock perfectly and to finalise the mechanical articulation securing the largest of the leaves to the case (Photo 8). The bracelet is a stunning Haute Joaillerie creation in its own right. Composed of seven variously sized branches, it forms a balanced, supple and comfortable whole that adapts perfectly to every wrist (Photo 9). Once the jeweller has determined the final shape of all the components, he prepares the receptacles intended to house the diamonds. The assembly phase begins once all the metal parts are complete. The artisan then adapts them while scrupulously following the initial design in order to adjust the bracelet to the whole. Then comes the gem-setting phase as such, during which the gem-setter meticulously fits the diamonds one after another into their dedicated cavities, once the jeweller has performed a final check (Photo 10). In the centre, he installs the watch complete with its pavé dial and sapphire crystal, and then examines the watch from all angles in order to detect the slightest imperfection. At this stage, the artisan will need to ensure that the cover hiding the watch opens correctly (Photo 11). Piaget has built its reputation on the perfect quality and finishing of its products. Then, once the final tests have been performed, the exceptional jewellery-watch is ready to be delivered to its lucky owner (Photo 12).