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The Story of Polo: Piaget’s Ultimate Sports Chic Watch

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The Story of Polo: Piaget’s Ultimate Sports Chic Watch

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Piaget’s Polo is an iconic integrated design that has embodied sports chic since 1979. Ever since its inception, it has been the choice of the great and the good who live on the sunny side of life — and now the Polo story starts a new chapter, with the Polo Date in 36mm. A 21st century reincarnation that seeks to become a must have sport-chic everyday watch that also exudes Piaget’s signature sense of luxury in the universe of all things horology. This watch honors the spirit of the original while being perfectly suited to the styles and values of today. To find out why, we need to go back to the beginning.

Birth of the Piaget Polo — A New Type of Sports Watch

The 1970s gave birth to many styles, movements and trends, but in the realm of watch design, it gave us the luxury sports watch. An evolving understanding of luxury style, with more casual and international travel, saw new standards emerge. For watchmakers, these changing codes expressed themselves through an increased exploration of bold colors and new materials and, most importantly, through a blurring of old boundaries. Integration was the name of the game, and many brands released sinuous, sporty designs that saw the metal bracelet seamlessly meet the cohesively designed case. This was not a trend limited to a few models; it was an industry-wide phenomenon. Today some of these designs, like the Nautilus from Patek Philippe and the Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet, are well-known. Still, many more integrated watch designs have been relegated to history, with only the true icons remaining.

In this heady (and hedonistic) landscape, Piaget’s Polo stood out. Released in 1979, this brainchild of Yves Piaget was exceptional, even amongst other sports luxury watches. Unashamedly designed for the times, the instantly recognizable Polo achieved perfect integration of case and dial and bracelet, thanks to the use of alternating gadroons and satin-brushed surfaces. While the design of the Polo was fearlessly contemporary, achieving it was possible thanks to Piaget’s over 100 years of technical and aesthetic mastery.

Polo was a very deliberate choice of name too. It was chosen by Piaget for the horseback sport, which celebrates the brand’s values. Athletic, incredibly demanding, and precise. This approach resonated in the ’70s and ’80s; the Piaget Polo was chic and cool, and the jet-set succumbed to its charms, ensuring the ongoing success of this visionary design.

Piaget Polo Evolved

Times, and tastes, changed and the Piaget Polo moved with them. Through the 2000s, Piaget refined the aesthetics of the Polo design, making the case larger and more robust in keeping with what their customers wanted — they even added a date. The seamless style and the bold horizontal gadroons remained key design features. Underneath the dial, other changes were afoot, with the Polos being powered by impressive ultra thin calibers. In 2009, the truly in-house chronograph caliber 880P was launched. It was a 5.6mm automatic movement that boasted 50 hours of power reserve as well as a second time zone.

This gradual evolution culminated in the Piaget Polo FortyFive, released 30 years after the original. This was a watch that shared the same bold spirit of the original 1979 model but was perfect for its era. In addition to the more complicated pieces — chronographs and perpetual calendar models, minute repeaters and tourbillons — the FortyFive line saw Piaget push new boundaries in luxury materials. Already Piaget had released Polo models with hardstone dials, but FortyFive allowed Piaget to experiment with unconventional combinations, like titanium and rubber. The Polo is not a design stuck in the past. It’s a design that has always reflected the world of its wearers and fans, as the model’s continual evolution demonstrates.

Bringing the Polo Back to Basics

In 1985, Piaget’s Polo team celebrated the watch by riding their ponies down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. So, when deciding where to launch the Polo S in 2016, New York was an obvious choice. It was against the backdrop of one of the most famous skylines in the world that Piaget introduced the Polo to a new generation. The latest iteration of the sports chic watch, the Polo S is still defined by the shape-within-a-shape aesthetic that sees the softly cushion-shaped case within a round dial. It was initially offered in gray, silvered or blue versions powered by the automatic 110P movement, as well as two chronograph versions. When it was first released, the Polo S felt like a fresh new take on the classic design. Some of the lines had been made smoother, and while there were numerous nods to the ’70s design, it felt current and contemporary. The bracelet, with its finely brushed center links, was a revelation, and the dial offered both depth and drama.

Since that initial release, we’ve seen a steady expansion of the Polo S family, and new versions have come along in precious metals, with diamond details and vibrant new dials; even clad in black, the Polo S looks the part. However, one of the most impressive new additions to the roster is the Piaget Polo Skeleton.

Piaget already had impressive form when it came to skeleton watches, so it made sense for them to bring this expertise to bear on the sporty Polo. While the dial has been pared back to allow the wearer a glimpse into the workings of the movement, it isn’t the only aspect of the watch that has been cut down. The case of the Polo Skeleton is slimmer, significantly so, and this reduction in width leads to a dramatic increase in elegance. The Polo Skeleton honors the codes of sports chic with its fluid lines and smooth bracelet — now enhanced with a quick-change system. What’s changed is the feel and, indeed, the overall attitude of this watch on the wrist. But it’s a Polo still, and undeniably a watch for enjoying the game in the pavilions, in the shade, with a cool drink in hand. Read more about the Piaget Polo Skeleton, here.

Polo as Part of a Larger Conversation

This year marks the latest evolution of the Polo, and again Piaget is keeping with the times. The Piaget Polo has always been about the expression of a lifestyle — not a watch made for men or women per se. In this way, Piaget has always been a brand at the intersection of style, identity and watchmaking. The 1979 Polo captured the spirit of a changing movement, where the division between sports and dress was becoming less clear, and people wanted an object that evoked their vision of the world.

Piaget’s latest release, the Polo Date in 36mm, exemplifies this spirit. Smaller than the Polo S, the Polo Date can keep the pace when it comes to expressing style and elegance — no matter the size. In fact you could say that Piaget has responded perfectly, releasing the ever-popular Polo in a 36mm case size, which many believe is the ideal case size for everyone. Rather than continue a narrative that men’s watches are bigger and women’s watches are smaller, Piaget has reframed the conversation. Typically, one of the first decisions you need to make when choosing a watch is that of size. That isn’t the case here, as the case is, well, one-size-suits-most. Instead, it frees you up to focus on what type of Polo Date suits your lifestyle best. Steel or gold? Bracelet, strap or both? Diamonds? It’s a powerful twist on convention — choose your style, not your size.

Piaget’s Polo has always been a distinctive choice, and the new Polo Date in 36mm is no exception.

Tech Specs

Movement: Self-winding caliber 500P1; 40-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Case: 36mm; 18K rose gold, 18K white gold or stainless steel, with or without diamonds; water resistant to 50m
Dial: White, blue or diamond pavé; diamond-set hour markers
Strap: Interchangeable metal or diamond pavé bracelet, or leather with folding clasp
Price: Starting from USD 13,100
More information: Piaget.com