Swiss luxury jeweller and watchmaker Piaget travelled back in time along the legendary Spice Route and Silk Route to seek inspiration for its collection, A Mythical Journey. Piaget found its muse in India for a number of its timepieces, which are among the best ever to come out of its La Côte-aux-Fées atelier.
The collection celebrates India’s myriad charms and commemorates its royal symbols of a bygone era.
A Mythical Journey by Piaget carries forward the luxury purveyor’s legacy of travel-inspired timepieces. The collection celebrates India’s myriad charms and commemorates its royal symbols of a bygone era. The watches have been created using the age-old arts of engraving, guilloche, gem-setting, and precious stone marquetry, which have been handed down by master craftsmen from time immemorial.
On the Altiplano Double Jeu and the Protocole XXL models, the Indian temple drawn by the Piaget designers evokes the Lake Palace, a wonderful hotel featuring white marble walls. It is located on the small island of Lake Pichola in Udaipur. Inspired by the Mughal dynasty, this former palace of Maharaja Jagat Singh II was built facing east to enable prayers at dawn facing the sun god, from which the reigning dynasty of Udaipur claimed to descend.
The animals chosen by Piaget to adorn the Indian dials are the elephant for the Polo Tourbillon Relatif, the Emperador and the Altiplano; and the peacock for the Limelight Emperador Exceptional Piece as well as the Altiplano Double Jeu. In the Hindu religion, Ganesh is a god with an elephant head, capable of removing all obstacles. His belly represents the universe and creation. He is the beginning and the end, the embodiment of benevolence and prosperity.
The peacock also enjoys distinctive status. With its long neck and its indigo blue breast, it was the crown jewel in the gardens of the maharajas. The Hindu god Krishna honoured it by adorning his headdress with its feathers. A symbol of beauty and dignity, it is now the national bird of India.
The Polo Tourbillon Relatif watch features a procession of elephants, which have been hand-engraved with champlevé enamel. The 18-karat white gold case is set with 34 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing approximately 2.3 carats. The slender Roman numerals add a touch of class. The Piaget 608P, hand-wound mechanical tourbillion relatif movement with an 80-hour power reserve takes pride of place on the dial.
In Full Flourish The peacock-inspired Limelight Exceptional Piece is a one-off creation that reveals Piaget’s expertise in jewellery making. The bejewelled cuff watch is sculpted in 18-karat white gold and set with 645 brilliantcut diamonds (17.3 carats) and 24 pear-cut diamonds (5.2 carats). It is powered by the Piaget 56P quartz movement. A diamond-studded peacock in full display decorates the upper case of the Altiplano Double Jeu watch. The peacock motif was a natural choice to highlight the all-too-rare plique-àjour enamelling technique. This is partly due to the multiple eyes adorning its tail that represent cavities for the master enameller, and the colours of the bird that are rendered truly spectacular thanks to the play of light created by the transparency effect. These vibrant hues shimmer and shine with the dazzling beauty of pure poetry. A ring of baguette and round diamonds surrounds the 18-karat white gold case. At its heart beats the Piaget 830P, ultra-thin hand-wound mechanical movement with a 60-hour power reserve.
These vibrant hues shimmer and shine with the dazzling beauty of pure poetry.
The serene Indian landscape of the Protocole XXL features a remarkable association of various skills.
Miniature Marvels The serene Indian landscape of the Protocole XXL features a remarkable association of various skills. Merging gold leaf with champlevé enamel, subtle details in miniature enamelling, a combination of transparent and opaque enamels, added texture through engraving, the complete picture comes to vibrant life through the graceful touch of the master artisans. The use of enamel on this timepiece effectively complements the role of the gold leaf, by preserving the latter’s brilliance, protecting it and enabling it to catch the light and make the model shine with exceptional richness and depth.
Piaget recreates the Lake Palace scene in micro-mosaics, an ornamental paving technique using tiny tesserae measuring less than one millimetre in diameter. The Protocole XXL Micro-Mosaic is crafted in 18-karat pink gold. Juxtaposing tiny tesserae in a wide range of subtly graded shades creates a stunningly luminous effect. A light blue shade composes a bright sky, while the Lake Palace is reproduced in radiant red, yellow and orange shades.
The Lake Palace reappears on the upper case of the Altiplano Double Jeu, but this time the landscape looks like something straight out of an etching. The master engraver’s expertise and artistic sensitivity enable him to faithfully reproduce the design while adding a sense of vibrancy and depth to the many details of the palace, the foliage, water surface and boat. Using his time-honoured tools such as the graver, the chisel and the knife, the master engraver breathes life into the raw material that is transformed into an authentic sculpture.
The engraving accentuates the virtuosity of the palace’s architecture, while the leaves in the foreground stand out with striking precision. The subtle sheen of white gold, the alternating polished and satin-brushed finishes, as well as the bezel set with 40 brilliant-cut diamonds (3.2 carats) all surround this Altiplano Double Jeu with an aura of infinitely precious radiance.
Miniature enamel elephants decked in royal finery stand guard on the dial of the Emperador XL. The brown and red tones underpinned by silver leaf create a sophisticated harmony. The motif appears to be literally brought to life by the enamel’s sheer intensity. The 18-karat pink gold case is set with 358 brilliantcut diamonds (2.9 carats) and 36 baguette-cut diamonds (0.4 carat). Taking centre stage is the Piaget 600P, ultra-thin handwound mechanical tourbillon movement with a 40-hour power reserve.
The majestic beasts reappear as gold appliqués on the dial of the Emperador watch. The elephants are adorned with diamonds and rubies. The 18-karat pink gold case is set with 163 brilliantcut diamonds (2.1 carats).
Piaget pays tribute to the noble elephant using the bullino engraving technique, a first in the watch industry. The Altiplano 38mm features an elephant with its sharply defined profile appearing in all its splendour. The bullino engraving technique has been traditionally reserved for the luxurious ornamentation of knives and hunting weapons. The 18-karat pink gold case has a ring of 78 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.7 carat).