Piaget is famous for creating the world’s thinnest self-winding calibre, the 12P, in 1960, also trailblazing a run of ultra-thin watches which reached its apotheosis with the Altiplano Ultimate Concept (AUC) version launched in 2018 and now available to purchase (for those lucky enough to have the ability to afford one).
For menswear mavens, however, Piaget’s celebrations around the diamond jubilee of the 12P must run concurrently with a anniversary equally auspicious — 40 years since the initiation of the Polo.
The original, Gérald Genta-designed sports-luxe timepiece, produced for Audemars Piguet in reaction to Italian interest in a hardy, go-anywhere apparel watch, was barely out of the cubes when Piaget celebrated its centenary in 1974. But it’s very likely the fourth-generation scion Yves G Piaget had seen the potential of this Royal Oak when he alighted upon the idea for a similarly sophisticated and wearable timepiece of his own.
Launched in 1980 by original Bond Girl Ursula Andress at the World Polo Cup in Palm Beach, Florida, the Polo swiftly found approval with precisely the in-crowd Piaget had been targeting: young, affluent jet-setters who adapted readily to the concept of a watch named for a sexual, fast-charging sport that looked at home at a pool party, a nightclub or, really, a paddock. Finally, the Polo accounted for a third of Piaget’s view sales, making sure it a place together with the pioneering Royal Oak, Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and, later on, Chopard’s St Moritz (reborn last year as the Alpine Eagle).
A redesign in the early 2000s was perhaps a little early in reigniting widespread interest in the model, but did permit for a flurry of complications to be attracted to generally bulked-up line. However, when the model was relaunched in 2016 it did so using an enticing collection of dial colors in addition to an option between Piaget’s extra-slim 1110P self-winding or 1160P self-winding chronograph moves. The Swiss Piaget watch was back.
Powered by Piaget’s 1110P self-winding motion, it is fitted to a superbly slim 42mm stainless-steel case and comes on a handsome (though regrettably not integrated) necklace.
For a suitably subdued finishing touch, the slate-grey finished oscillating weight may be viewed via the sapphire crystal case back.