This Piaget manchette (cuff) watch with a tigereye dial is the ultimate emblem of 1970s jet-set glamour. Offered by the Back Vault, it epitomizes the sculptural, creative and exuberant aesthetic of its era, with a tactile surface of handcrafted 18-karat-gold nuggets shaped like fragments of calcified coral.
Fusing audacious modernity with the organic and ancestral, the watch is a true signature piece for the brand, which has famously pushed the boundaries of horological design. In the mid-1960s, Piaget brought verve and color to time telling with hard-stone dials crafted from unusual materials — lapis lazuli, jade, turquoise, opal and onyx — thus reinvigorating the watch industry with optimism and ingenuity during the quartz crisis. And at this year’s Watches & Wonders exhibition in Geneva, the sought-after brand unveiled its new Limelight high-jewelry watch, which features a sapphire and turquoise dial “hatching” out of a hand-engraved rose-gold bracelet, once again showcasing its aptitude for imbuing designs with a deep sense of origin as well as fantasy.
In the Back Vault’s piece, the matte finish of the 18-karat nuggets beautifully enhances the chatoyancy of the tigereye, with its undulating streaks of chocolate and tawny brown.
“Piaget’s golden era of design was during the ’60s and ’70s,” says Elyana Roldugina, a jewelry expert at the Back Vault. “At that time, Piaget embarked on a new creative endeavor, transforming timepieces into desirable modern objects for the elite.”
Indeed, Piaget’s unconventional and imaginative hard-stone watches were worn by style icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy, who refreshed the concept of formal dress thanks to their unapologetic love of fashion and jewelry.
According to Roldugina, this vintage gold masterpiece captures that same spirit of freedom and experimentation, transcending time and trends. “With its earthy silhouette inspired by nature and couture, this is among the rarest and most striking Piaget manchette watches [available], preserved in excellent condition and with an impressive weight of over two hundred grams. Daring and avant-garde, Piaget pieces such as this are always created in very limited numbers or as unique releases. The exquisite craftsmanship ensures that, should other examples of the model exist, this watch is nonetheless one-of-a-kind.”