The new Piaget Polo 79 rivals beloved retro legends like the 222Buffy Acacia
- Piaget celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Maison and the 45th anniversary of the Polo with the new Polo 79.
- It largely retains the design cues of the original with subtle updates like an enlarged 38mm case and a mechanical movement instead of quartz.
- Boasting a 3N yellow gold case and weighing a hefty 200 grams, it costs A$120,000.
It’s not often that brands can be behind the times by being contemporaries – but that’s almost exactly what’s been happening at Piaget. While global interest has been swinging away from vintage-inspired divers and towards the truly quirky watches of the past, demand for Piaget’s vintage models has been soaring. For the 45th anniversary of Piaget’s most iconic watch, the Polo, the Swiss masters of elegance have finally come out with a spiritual reissue in all of its sculptural glory.
There are certainly some tweaks here and there, not least the use of a mechanical movement, but in essence, it’s a true recreation with the late ’70s funk and opulence you’d expect. Hopefully, this Polo 79 release signifies a change in Piaget’s catalogue, bringing back more of the vintage quirks and stone dials that collectors are obsessing over, rather than the Altiplano and Polo S/Field ranges.
Right away, there are some adjustments we can see. The original Piaget Polo from 1979 was actually released in two case shapes, each in different sizes to accommodate both style preference and wrist size. There was a lot of commercial success for the square models, but it was the round reference 7661 C701 that went on to become the real cult classic. There was a ‘large’ size of 34mm and a ‘small’ size of 27mm, which would both be considered too small by a modern audience.
Here, the case has been sized up to 38mm which affords it a bit more of a punch, but it does lose some of the petite charm that vintage watches usually have. It’s hard to be upset by that though, because a larger case means it’s easier to appreciate the beauty of its construction. Made from solid 18k yellow gold (the whole thing weighs 200 grams, by the way), alternating sections of flat brushing and rounded polishing make the entire watch look like a flexible bracelet. It’s a hypnotic and surreal effect, breaking down our expectations of separation between case and dial.
The Piaget Polo 79’s changes to its dial are much more subtle, but still enough to easily tip off an enthusiast whether it’s the vintage or contemporary model. The dauphine hands and the Piaget printed logo have been made proportionally larger, which actually has the effect of making the watch look a bit smaller overall. It’s a neat trick, which has allowed Piaget to grow the case size without it feeling overly inflated.
Other than those adjustments, it’s impossible to talk about the dial and the case as separate entities. Even the chamfer of the bezel retains continuity with the lines of the case – as if the whole thing has been machined from one solid piece of an exotic material. It’s also a masterclass in texture, as the dial is surprisingly legible despite being entirely gold. The polished hands and tiny polished pips for the hours and minutes stand out from the uniform backdrop easily.
While the original Piaget Polo watches used an ultra-thin quartz movement, that’s just not going to cut it for the luxury shoppers of 2024. When a case is hewn from this much solid gold, you expect the best of the best, and Piaget has equipped the Polo 79 with their in-house calibre 1200P. Ignoring all of the technical stuff for a moment, it’s a beautiful movement to look at. The gold micro-rotor bears their coat of arms, while the striped decoration of the 3/4 plate looks like an emanating glow coming from that rotor. The movement is only 2.35mm tall, which is the main contributor for the watch’s overall thinness. There are some sacrifices with performance, such as a middling power reserve of 44 hours and a beat rate of 3Hz, but given its automatic winding and lack of a seconds hand, those things won’t be noticeable on a day-to-day basis.
Piaget Polo 79 pricing and availability
The new Piaget Polo 79 is available now from Piaget retailers – it’s not a limited edition, but it’s “limited production”. Price: A$120,000.
|38mm (D) x 7.45mm (T)
|18k yellow gold
|Integrated solid 18k yellow gold
|1200P1, in-house, automatic, micro-rotor
|Hours and minutes