In an event that occurred yesterday night in New York City, Piaget, the manufacture known for ultra-thin watches, introduced a brand new version of its sports watch, the Polo. This new Piaget Polo S is special in several aspects, as first of all it shows an entirely new design – previous watches looked like this (click here) and were still rather consistent since the inception of the model in 1979 – and secondly, it is made in steel (previous series were in gold or titanium). It becomes the new “entry-level” for the brand, and is a new proposal for the luxury sports watch segment. With its pretty face and in-house movements, the new Piaget Polo S seems to be a pretty good deal, however that pretty face looks familiar….
Introducing the new Piaget Polo S and Polo S Chronograph in steel
For this brand new edition, the Piaget Polo undergoes a serious refreshing cure. The design of the collection, which was consistent since its inception in 1979 (a sort of cushion with integrated bracelet and stripes crossing over the central case and the dial, something that was tuned-down after several facelifts, as only the case remained stripped), somehow went a bit outdated. The reaction of Piaget is this new edition, the Piaget Polo S and Polo S Chronograph, with a brand new design, new movements, stainless cases and an “affordable” vocation (to Piaget’s standards of course).
The Piaget Polo S is available in two editions: a 3-hander with date and a chronograph. Both of these automatic watches come in a 42mm steel case, mixing a round bezel with a cushion-shaped dial – which is somehow reminiscent of the Emperador watches… The link with the brand is thus rather obvious, but maybe less with the Polo collection. Classical to elegant and luxury-sports watches, the finishing alternates between a brushed bezel and polished surfaces. The Piaget Polo S is quite thin at 9.4mm and the Piaget Polo S Chronograph, at 11.2mm, is also interesting, knowing that inside ticks an automatic chronograph movement.
The Polo S 3-hand is available in three dials options (silver, blue and anthracite) and the Polo S Chronograph can be ordered in silver and blue. The dials show a subtle stripped pattern (don’t see an evocation of the old Polo watches here), with applied indexes and hands that are both elegant and legible. All the watches feature a steel bracelet, with H-shpaed polished links and bushed central links – no option for rubber or leather exists yet, and considering the vocation of the watch, Piaget should consider it.
Inside these steel cases tick in-house movements. The 3-hand version features calibre 1110P and the chronograph features calibre 1160P. These two are derived from calibres 800P (3-hand with date, 25.6mm, double barrel, 85 hours of power reserve, 3Hz) and 880P (automatic chronograph, bi-compax, date, actuated by a column-wheel and a vertical clutch, double barrel, 50h of power reserve, 5.6mm thick, 4Hz). Piaget does not give many details about the 1110P and 1160P but we can imagine them to be less decorated version, to fit the lower price of the new Piaget Polo S collection.
The Piaget Polo S and Polo S Chronograph in steel will be available in stores in September 2016 and priced at $9,350 for the 3-hand and $12,400 for the chronograph.
Here’s why the Piaget Polo S looks familiar
Overall, even if this watch is not THE novelty of the year, it’s not a bad watch. We could argue that there’s more resemblance with the Emperador rather than with the old Polo watches, but that’s not the point here. Looking at the specs, the price and the photos, the deal is quite interesting. Piaget is a respected manufacture, it has a long history and it is a legitimate watch brand that has a long standing history in manufacturing (ultra thin) movements – look at the 900P and you’ll understand. The movements in the Polo S are of course in-house developed and manufactured, and the specs are not bad at all: column-wheel chronograph with double barrel or thin double barrel 3-hand automatic movement, based on movements that are known, quite nice to look at and technically efficient.
Even if design is a matter taste, the new Piaget Polo S timepieces are elegant, seem to be well constructed and, considering the price (below $10K usd), the price / quality ratio makes it even more interesting. All of that is good. However… it looks familiar. The competition are other luxury sports watches, some models have been on the market for decades and have become true icons. The thing is… you don’t mess with icons.
The Piaget Polo S vs. the Patek Nautilus and the Patek Aquanaut
The Polo collection had a consistency, a recognisable design, which – even if it’s not to your tastes and obviously a bit outdated – was somehow iconic for the brand. With the Polo S watches in steel, we loose that consistency.
Of course, we had to make an image to clarify our point and thoughts that we had when we saw the new Polo S. The Patek Nautilus and/or Aquanaut feature some similar design cues to put it mildly. Same cushion dial (not octagonal for sure, but the resemblance is rather clear…), same brushed bezel (horizontal and not vertical, but still…), same kind of bracelet, with H-shaped links and rectangular central links (again, finishings are inverted) and a dial that shows an horizontal stripping similar to the Nautilus.
What we tend to say here is that, even if there’s nothing wrong about the Polo S! However, one way or another, it will be seen next to the competition. We don’t blame the Polo S for what it is, but a bit of fresh inspiration or even innovation, and new designs, would be very welcome. Especially in the market as it is today! Sorry Piaget, nothing personal!