Having already covered the hand-embroidered Piaget rose dial earlier this year, today it’s the turn of two other interpretations of their floral emblem. For those who wish to know a little about the significance of the Yves Piaget rose, click here. The choice of this flower is not without meaning, and it is why it features in both their watches and jewellery.
Today the skills and craft that are being highlighted are hard-stone marquetry and grand feu enamelling.
Stone marquetry has been traditionally used in furniture, as an architectural feature, in religious art, as a decorative art. In their quest to find new way in which to realise the Yves Piaget rose on a watch dial (it occurrs to me that for a completist who has the funds, collecting these would be an interesting thing), Piaget approached the workshop of Hervé Obligi, which has been honoured with the ‘Enterprise du Patrimonie Vivant’ (a recognition of the French State for excellence in traditional and industrial skills), to see their skills in a miniaturised form.
The making of these roses involves a few main steps : selecting the stone (in this instance, Imperial Mexican jasper), using diamond-blade saws to cut it into thin pieces, selecting the appropriately coloured areas for the rose’s petals, tracing the petals are traced onto the jasper with a steel point, and then using a hazelnut wood bow strung with steel wire soaked in abrasive is used to cut the petals.
Each petal is then adjusted and assembled into the complete rose onto a surface, and heat-sealed with resin to join them. The finished rose is then attached to the gold dial of the Altiplano. Then, it is polished by hand to the form you see here.
This Altiplano is in a 38mm white gold case with a brilliant-cut diamond bezel and comes on a matching white satin strap. Made in a limitation of eighteen pieces, inside is the manual-wind Piaget 430P movement, with 43-hours of power reserve.
Today’s second piece that also forms a part of the Piaget Art & Excellence collection, is the Piaget rose in Grand Feu enamel.
For those unfamiliar with it, enamelling is the heating of silica (glass) with other elements including a colour (usually in the form of a metal oxide) at 800 – 1200 Celsius and to liquefy and bond the metal. The process of heating and cooling is repeated to add more layers, and applied to a watch dial using a quill.
The enamel artist creates colours through the combination of silica and metal oxides. Designs and colours can be either in the enamel itself, or there may even be plain enamel on to which the design is painted.
For this ‘Grand Feu’, the method used was that of repeated application of the coloured powder.
The dial is firstly engraved in relief with the rose motif of the Yves Piaget rose. After this, the sun ray guilloché is added. The enamel is then spread on its surface in successive layers as per the heating and cooling process mentioned above, with differing heights of engraving and different layers and colours of enamelling. Once the final glazing is complete, polishing.
As with the previous marquetry piece, this is in a 38mm white gold case with matching white satin strap. Inside is again, the manual-wind 430P movement. The limitation is also eighteen pieces.
The Grand Feu dial is the more delicate of the two pieces featured today, but I find the the darker hues of the stone marquetry watch more striking. Regardless of which you prefer, these are two worthy and fittingly delicate new manifestations of Piaget’s floral motif.