When Piaget is not butting its head against the limits of ultra-thin watchmaking, beating the watch case down to a card, or scaling the maze of high complications, it is also extraordinarily adept at creating jewellery watches, putting its name on some of the most alluring of this genre in the business. These would include the Piaget Limelight Gala collection, with its distinctive asymmetrical lugs that extend well beyond the case in a sensual, curvy sweep as a whorl around a stem. According to Piaget, this unusual design harks back to the 1970s, to the days of the Piaget Society which saw the manufacture throw fabulous parties for celebrities, artists, clients, and assorted “friends of the brand”.
In the past, the Limelight Gala collection was fitted with a quartz or hand wound movement. Then in 2020, Piaget introduced Limelight Gala watches with a self-winding 501P movement. This indeed grew the case thickness by a little bit, from 7.4mm to 8.91mm; but the trade-off is worth it for the added technical content and convenience of a self-winding movement.
This year, Piaget is nudging further with the Limelight Gala Aventurine featuring the self-winding 501P1 manufacture movement. This is an evolution of the 530P movement with an uprated beat frequency. Both the 530P and the 501P introduced in 2020 beat at 3Hz. The 501P1 used here beats at 4Hz, bringing greater beat stability at a slight expenditure of power reserve, which is lowered from 43 hours to 40 hours.
As its name suggests, the dial is aventurine glass, fabricated from a process which dates back to 17th century Venice; in dark blue with flecks of copper oxide, it mimics the beauty and mystique of a star-filled night sky. This is framed by a swirl of 62 brilliant-cut diamonds, weighing some 1.66 carats.
Sharing equal billing or at least not playing second fiddle in terms of man hours and artisan skill, is white gold Milanese mesh strap. It takes no less than eight artisans over 100 hours to fabricate this strap, which involves taking 366 individual gold threads, shaping them into spirals and weaving them into a fabric strap of gold.
The Limelight Gala Aventurine is available in a limited edition of 300 pieces.
Basic watch case shapes can be numbered with the fingers of one hand (give or take a few fingers). It’s not so easy to come up with something distinctively different that it can be owned by any particular brand – something that works, because if it doesn’t, just being different, counts for nothing. The asymmetric elongated lugs of the Limelight Gala is one instance of a distinctive case silhouette that is very elegant, in an off-shoulder dress sort of way. It’s cool, smart, effortlessly glamorous and almost feline in its slinky elegance: icon-material, and a very good look for Piaget.
Movement: Self-winding 501P1, power reserve of 40 hours, 4Hz
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case: 32mm white gold case, bezel set with 62 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.66 ct), aventurine glass dial
Strap: White gold Milanese mesh strap with sliding buckle
Availability: Limited to 300 pieces