In their latest collection of watches and jewelry, Piaget has relaxed a little, inspired by cocktails. Autumn is in the yard, but the Swiss company chose summer to create a new Solstice collection. Inspired by the rich colors of cocktails, the collection is more literally reflected in pieces such as a watch face adorned with limes or a ring with a piece of fruit encrusted with precious stones.
Composed primarily of cocktail rings, the line is based on a colorful assortment of gems arranged to evoke our favorite cocktails, Negroni, Manhattan, Gin Fizz and Mimosa. Piaget blends an effervescent blend of chrysolite, citrine, tourmaline and indicolite, adds a few diamonds and swirls them together in a whimsical design.
“The challenge is to maximize Piaget’s boldness and sharpness by creating pieces that express the brand’s joyful side,” says Christophe Bourri, Piaget’s Global Director of High Jewelery. Semi-precious stones are the best way to express this and also recreate vibrant colors in special cocktails.” Each piece is a kind of fantasy, not a formal, classic piece with sapphire, rubies or emeralds. They are funny”.
Fun but not easy to create. As more and more brands compete to serve a growing client base of affluent buyers who expect the best of the best, the competition to acquire the world’s finest gemstones is getting fiercer, Burri said. “The nightmare is finding the stones,” he says. “The market is under enormous pressure not only from big jewelry brands like Cartier, Bulgari and Graff that are getting bigger and bigger, but also from fashion brands that are increasingly into jewelry like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel and Gucci. We’re all in competition to see who can buy the best gems, and that’s not something that can be produced. These are gifts from the earth,” says Burri. “We have a team of seven in-house gemologists looking for the finest gemstones, three of which focus solely on centerstones. We have focused on the highest quality for the simple reason that we want to position ourselves at the highest level of jewelry quality. This is what we will be different from others, because we will never be more.”
For the Solstice collection, the gems had to best reflect the colorful ingredients of the cocktails featured in the design: grenadine (pink sapphires), mint leaves (emeralds), sprinkled sugar (diamonds), ice cubes (rough diamonds), bourbon (brown diamonds) and slices. lime (chrysolite).
The watches presented in the collection are a cocktail on the wrist. The dial features lime wedges and mint leaves floating in a white liquid laced with diamond ice cubes. This is a collaboration between Anita Porsche, Switzerland’s leading enamel maker, and Dutch master engraver Dick Steenman. Against a background of sculpted mother-of-pearl, Steenman engraved the contours of lime slices and mint leaves. Anita Porsche then applied a palette of translucent enamels to bring the limes and mint leaves to life. Porsche’s work is featured on another dial, the Festive Sharing watch, which features a light pastiche of lemons, limes, flowers and leaves using champleve, paillonne and miniature painting. The third clock, Gleaming Savor, is a starry night and cocktail time composition created by French marquetry artist Rose Saneuil using 177 individually carved pieces of straw, sycamore wood and elytra (beetle wings). The bezel is set with baguette-cut diamonds reversed to create a diffused light effect.
Once a year, Piaget releases a unique collection of 50-100 pieces called the Creative collection. Each of them can take five years to create, which is largely dependent on the search for gems, so work is underway on several at once. “In our time, it takes even longer,” says Burri, “because you also need to comply with the requirements of sustainable development.”
Piaget was founded in 1874 and began as a manufacturer of watch movements, and then as a manufacturer of its own watches, mainly ceremonial and jewelry. “Piaget’s experience in making jewelry watches led customers to order jewelry without watches, and around the 1960s, the house started making pieces for jewelry only,” Burri explains. “At first it was just a side business and then maybe 20 years ago we started making real collections.”
The annual Creative Collection is usually presented at special salons and private events. In the 1970s, when Yves Piaget brought his design style to the business (he created the flagship Polo watch collection) and brought his social connections to the brand, Piaget gained wide popularity among celebrities, who became known as the “Piaget society”. Today, in an era of growing groups of collectors, Piaget is resurrecting this concept among its loyal customers. “Our Piaget Society is a creative movement,” Burri says. “It was social before the advent of social media, it is a joyful group of jewelry and watch lovers, people in front of or behind the camera, cultural leaders, trailblazers and contemporary beauties. When they meet, it’s like finding a home away from home for people with common interests who live boldly but elegantly and who dare to be rare. Their collective energy has a unique power.”