When talking about collecting ladies’ watches, Piaget always owns a spot in my heart. The mesmerising dials complementing various case forms, the specially shaped lugs attaching beautifully constructed bracelets, and the ultra-thin body with just-right size on wrist presence, all contribute to a character that brings about a Great Gatsby sense of class, style and decadence to modern life.
In the 1960s, Yves G. Piaget, the fourth generation guardian from the Piaget family, started to shine and influence the family business with his passion for gems and colour. Using the maison’s ultra-thin movements as a foundation, leaving more room for stone-setting and dial decoration, Yves Piaget started to adorn the watches with vibrant colours in different materials, creating the new fashion trend. (For a detailed story on dial art at Piaget, you can read more in Blackbird Watch Manual Volume 1, which can be ordered here.)
The first design for the Limelight collection was introduced in 1973, featuring a diamond-set round bezel integrated with two meteor tails as elongated asymmetrical lugs. The model was revived by Piaget in 2013, with contemporary updates on this vintage design, and every year since, there has been a new mix for this timeless design.
The modern interpretation of the Limelight Gala combines the spirit of the maison from the 1960s and 1970s, daring to use colour, while also embracing technical innovation to bring a degree of modernity. Last year during SIHH 2019, there was the malachite dial with yellow gold “décor palace” finished bracelet. This year, the latest version comes with the blue “Grand Feu” enamel dial and white gold “décor palace” finishing once again applied to the bracelet.
To set the contemporary tone in this vintage combination, Piaget chose to embellish the bezel with diamonds and sapphires set in gradient shades of blue, matching the shade of the enamel dial.
Piaget is one of the few remaining houses that still treasures the technique of creating handmade gold bracelets in different textures and patterns; the work of a chain smith is similar to that of an Haute Couture dressmaker. The artisan will start with hundreds of gold links which will be tightly assembled.The next step is the soldering of the countless miniature pieces that will result in a bracelet of remarkable suppleness.
For those who obsess over ladies’ vintage collection, a heart-breaking fact for those gold woven bracelets is that the length cannot be adjusted, as all the gold pieces are woven and integrated. When the bracelet is not a perfect fit to the wrist, there is a underlying risk when you decide to cut the gold bracelet: the buckle may not perfectly fit after re-attaching to the bracelet, and the length cannot be reversed without a re-mounting “scar”, as the process would melt the woven gold.
To solve this dilemma, Piaget has adapted the bracelet by setting the last few links to be attached by screws so that the length can be easily adjusted without affecting the gold woven structure while keeping its aesthetic.
It’s always great to see how a classic model can be given a new life in the modern market. With the history of design, the Limelight has always gained extra value with how much impact it has had to stylemakers’ tastes over the decades
The Limelight Gala Precious (reference G0A45163), Bezel set with 20 brilliant-cut diamonds with approximately 1.46 carats and a fade of 22 brilliant-cut blue sapphires with approximately 4.01 carats. With 690P quartz movement. Hong Kong retail price $835,000