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A Legacy of Audacity: Why Discerning Collectors Should Be Excited About the New Piaget Polo 79

The “being-in-the-room” privilege is a concept that Yves Piaget spread in the late 1970s and ‘80s that centered around the prerogative that to wear a Piaget Polo was to belong to high society – has returned, along with the new Piaget Polo 79 inspired by the very first Polo model from 1979.

By Ash Longet
PR & Business Development

For a while now, Piaget has been orchestrating a captivating dance with its own history, infusing a breath of fresh air into its legendary jewelry watches and stone-dialed timepieces. Of course, a larger trend of reviving the chicest aesthetics of the 1960s and ‘70s no doubt aids brands in crafting a narrative that resonates with today’s connoisseurs of refined art de vivre. Still, Piaget does this better than most.

Thus, with Maison Piaget celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2024, there was never any doubt that the commemoration would be marked by a timepiece steeped in the brand’s rich history. And so it has, coming from the sports-chic watch realm and inspired by the original solid gold Polo.

Allow us to introduce you to the Piaget Polo 79!

The Original

In the late 1970s and throughout the ‘80s, when vibrance and energy were pulsating through the cultural veins, Piaget translated that essence into a watch like no other. Unshackled from the weight of conventional expectations, the brand embarked on a daring journey to create a solid gold ultra-thin watch (using the famous 7P, which, at the time, was the thinnest quartz movement in the world) that would feel like a second skin without compromising luxury.

But that promise to not sacrifice luxury wasn’t as easy as it sounds because, in 1980, the price of gold reached the unprecedented heights of $850 per ounce. As a result, brands like Cartier were predominantly crafting gold-plated steel watches; however, Piaget boldly went in the opposite direction.

And today, history repeats as the Piaget Polo 79 arrives right on cue for the new golden age of watches.

So, let’s talk about what made the original watch stand out: Its 18-karat yellow gold case and bracelet that was so expertly sculpted they seemed to come from a single piece – that’s the kind of swagger we’re talking about.

Then, what kept heads turned were those groovy gadroons on the case and dial. It was a groundbreaking move that showcased Piaget’s not-so-secret weapon – its mastery of haute joaillerie, a skill the watchmaking arm of the brand had been flexing to great effect since the 1950s.

Yves Piaget’s bold move marked a paradigm shift in American high society’s taste, and the Polo became the trendsetter that elevated the status of everyday sports watches to symbols of sophistication and an object of the in-crowd. In fact, Andy Warhol, Ursula Andress, Elizabeth Taylor, Miles Davis, and Robert DeNiro’s character in Casino (1995) all wore a Piaget Polo.

An Elegant Response to the Quartz Crisis

In addition to the record-high price of gold, the Polo came out in the throes of another historical event that up-ended the watch world: the quartz crisis, which saw consumers abandoning mechanical models from Switzerland and the U.S. for less expensive, quartz-powered watches made in Japan. As a result, Swiss watch production was cut in half between 1974 and 1983, and the U.S. manufactures all but disappeared.

However, as Piaget was preparing for the 1979 launch of the Polo trend, the brand faced the quartz crisis head-on and even threw a gauntlet by equipping the Polo with Piaget’s Polo models emerged in 1979, resilient and sophisticated, equipped with the 7P movement, which when the movement was unveiled in 1976 was hailed as the world’s thinnest quartz movement at a mere 3.1mm.

Then, in 1980, Piaget unveiled the 8P quartz movement, which was a mere 1.95mm in height, and soon equipped its Polo models with this ultra-thin movement, solidifying Piaget’s legacy as not only a pioneer in ultra-thin craftsmanship but also as a brand that defies challenges with grace and sophistication.

The New Polo 79

Now that we all understand the historical context and consequence of the original Polo, let’s gaze upon the captivating essence of the new Polo 79.

It feels almost like a moment suspended in time because the same vibrant energy that defined Piaget in the ‘80s takes center stage, but this time in a wholly rejuvenated form.

Cast entirely in 18-karat yellow gold, the new Polo 79 breaks from its predecessor’s 2N metal (a.k.a. 99% pure gold) and embraces the contemporary allure of the 3N variant (a.k.a. 99.9% pure gold).

The result? A champagne color with more pinkish tones that instantly captivates and infuses into the Polo 79 a more modern aesthetic. This aesthetic is even more accentuated by slightly more polished gadroons and brushed links that seamlessly connect the bracelet to the 38mm case (which is a bit larger than the original’s case).

The dial becomes a canvas for the interplay of light, reflecting the brand’s dedication to creating a timepiece that doesn’t just tell time but narrates a story of contemporary opulence.

Lastly, Piaget eschews the quartz movement for the exquisite and intricate 1200P1 in-house self-winding calibre. An ultra-thin movement, you can observe its fine finishings and the choreography of its horological artistry via the crystal caseback.

Final Thoughts

The new Polo 79 is not just about telling the time; it’s a testament to profound skill, an homage to the bucking of history, and a bold claim to a legacy of individuality.

Priced at a daring CHF 68,500, the Polo 79 is not for the faint-hearted; it’s destined for the raddest collections of our time because, in the ever-evolving tapestry of watches, the Piaget Polo 79 doesn’t just tick away seconds; it ticks boxes of cool, leaving an indelible mark on the zeitgeist of refined style. 

For more information, visit the Piaget website.

(Video by Johan Corminboeuf)

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