Piaget = Passion + People: A Visit to a Place where Watches are Born

Although the movement is the heart of a watch, it’s case and bracelet form the body. While Piaget’s movement’s are made in the tranquility of the Swiss mountains, the rest of their watches are made in the hustle and bustle of Geneva. A very suitable choice because despite the sober, understatement that most of the old watchmaking Maison’s seem to favor, Piaget always had a more extroverted approach. Think the famous Polo, the various jewelry watches and the semi-precious stone dials. This creativity was made possible by the ultra-slim movements made in La Côte-aux-Fées, and the dedicated and passionate craftsmen and -women that work in the Geneva Manufacture of Piaget!

Polo FortyFive Chronograph next to the plastic model used when the watch was still in its design stage

The extroverted side of Piaget breaths throughout the building. Not only because of its unique architecture but also because it houses the  specialties  that give luxury its meaning. This starts with the design department where the looks of new generations of Piaget’s are created. This goes far beyond making just a sketch of how the watch should look; it also includes highly sophisticated and rather technical drawings, CAD-designs and rubber prototypes. The beauty of the design process is also that all the specialties of Piaget come together before the first, new watch is even made, because they all contribute to the realization of new models by input of their unique expertise.

Highly sophisticacted machines crafting the parts out of 18K gold

As a true Manufacture, Piaget produces all the parts themselves. This varies from cases and casebacks, to tiny golden screws that are hardly visible with the naked eye. For this they not only have very skilled technicians but also highly advanced machines that process the gold into the desired part. Piaget is only satisfied with the best of the best, and therefore quality control plays a huge part throughout the entire production process. Every part, no matter how tiny, will be checked and then checked again to make sure that it meets the highest standards.

A craft that can make or break a watch: polishing! Experts only!

Sometimes you even encounter professions you had no idea existed. Such a department was the polishing department. It sounds easy enough, polishing a case, but it is not. Especially today’s watches feature cases with several different finishes. These finishes are all applied by hand, and require skill and expertise to get the desired result. One mistake, however tiny it may be, can ruin the overall look of the case and therefore the watch.

Where watch making meets jewelry making: the creation of a bracelet

Another area in which the margin for error is almost non-existence is that of bracelet making. Piaget is one of the few brands that still make a wide variety of bracelets in precious metals completely by hand. We are not talking here about assembling a bracelet from different parts, but starting completely from scratch with nothing other than some gold wire. This is where high end watch and jewelry making really come together in the symbiosis that Piaget has stood for, for generations.

Case meets movement: a bond forever!

Case meets movement: a bond forever!

Freshly manufactured cases waiting for the next step in becomming a watch

Freshly manufactured cases waiting for the next step in becomming a watch

A fine diamond set case for a Piaget ladies watch with hand made bracelet

A fine diamond set case for a Piaget ladies watch with hand made bracelet

The machine has just produced parts of a bracelet that are now on their way to be judged by quality control

The machine has just produced parts of a bracelet that are now on their way to be judged by quality control

Diamond set crown's awaiting assembly

Diamond set crown's awaiting assembly

The first caseback of a very limited edition!

The first caseback of a very limited edition!

Ready to be cased: see how the Geneva Stripes draw all your attention straight to the microrotor!

Ready to be cased: see how the Geneva Stripes draw all your attention straight to the microrotor!

Some examples of the gold bracelet parts that Piaget makes in-house

Some examples of the gold bracelet parts that Piaget makes in-house

Craftsmanship of the highest level: a sample plate of four different engravings

Craftsmanship of the highest level: a sample plate of four different engravings

Only a perfect fit will do! The tolerances are extremely small

Only a perfect fit will do! The tolerances are extremely small

From gold

From gold "coin" to a sophisticated watch case: Piaget does it all in-house

Here the temporary dial to test the movement functions (top) is being switched for the permanent dial (below)

Here the temporary dial to test the movement functions (top) is being switched for the permanent dial (below)

Very precious exam candidates just passed their water resistance test!

Very precious exam candidates just passed their water resistance test!

We often focus on the watch and its movement, that we forget how much effort, skill and craftsmanship is needed to create a bracelet

We often focus on the watch and its movement, that we forget how much effort, skill and craftsmanship is needed to create a bracelet

Diamond bezel ready to meet the rest of the watch

Diamond bezel ready to meet the rest of the watch

Examples of the parts Piaget's Manufacture makes from gold, including the tiny golden screw on the finger

Examples of the parts Piaget's Manufacture makes from gold, including the tiny golden screw on the finger

Cool your jets! Cooling fluids make sure that the machine, and the watch part, don't heat up too much during the making

Cool your jets! Cooling fluids make sure that the machine, and the watch part, don't heat up too much during the making

A precious cabinet: Piaget's working stock of.....gold!

A precious cabinet: Piaget's working stock of.....gold!

Checking water tightness is very important, especially with diamond set watches.

Checking water tightness is very important, especially with diamond set watches.

A gold watch case ready to be set with a diamond bezel

A gold watch case ready to be set with a diamond bezel

Freshly engraved gold casebacks with the Piaget coat of arms

Freshly engraved gold casebacks with the Piaget coat of arms

The exploded view of the Polo FortyFive

The exploded view of the Polo FortyFive

Designing a diamond set watch

Designing a diamond set watch

This man operates an intriguing machine that allows him to set all the hands on a Piaget Chronograph in succeeding order

This man operates an intriguing machine that allows him to set all the hands on a Piaget Chronograph in succeeding order

Before (right) and after (left): how a ring of gold becomes a bezel for a diamond set watch

Before (right) and after (left): how a ring of gold becomes a bezel for a diamond set watch

To ensure that your Piaget will also last for generations, a lot of attention is focused on bringing all the parts together. The movements made so dedicatedly in  La Côte-aux-Fées are combined with the cases and bracelets. Here is also the place where the test dials are replaced for the original dial and where the hands will be set on the watches. After the watch is finally complete it is time to check the end result with the same vigor and dedication, as it has been under since the raw materials entered Piaget’s manufacture. When, and only when, the watch has passed these final tests, we can finally say that another Piaget has been born!

Categories Piaget, Watches Tags , , , , , , , , , Bookmark http://blogs.christies.com/longitude/watches/piaget-passion-people-a-visit-to-a-place-where-watches-are-born/
  • Allen Cook

    Really a lovely website with wonderful collection of Piaget Watches.