Launched with great fanfare in the middle of last year – see our introducing article – the Piaget Polo S was both a breath of fresh air for Piaget and, at the same time (and unfortunately) the most controversial watch of the year 2016. This is the sad part of the story. This watch is great… alone. But it lives in a market full of competitors. It seems that Piaget heard the complaints and for the SIHH 2017, some new limited editions have been showed, the Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber 3-hand and chronograph – a world of difference… And that’s were the deal becomes pretty interesting.
The 2016 inaugural collection of the Piaget Polo S
When launched in July 2016, the Piaget Polo S has received a huge coverage from the dedicated press, including us here, at Monochrome-Watches. Still, it has been a riffle of complaints and critics for a watch that has, after all, quite some arguments. Most of the journalists were pointing out a resemblance with some other “luxury sports watches“, which represents exactly the category where this Polo S sits. Alone, this Piaget is a great watch: a cool design, a qualitative case, nice color options for the dial, a choice between 3-hand and chronograph, nicely executed movements and a design that mixes modern touches and 1980s inspiration. On paper, the keys of success were there. Even the price is rather competitive (around 10,000 Euros for the 3-hand version).
Still, this watch is not alone and it lives in a market with competitors. When launching a new watch, you simply deny the icons that are in the market for decades. Or you create an entirely new design or you prepare yourself for critics. And once again, this doesn’t mean the Piaget Polo S is a bad offer. Good news is that for the SIHH 2017, the collection is evolving, with the addition of two limited edition watches. A bit of black ADLC coating for the bezel, a new dial color, a rubber strap instead of the metallic bracelet… and here you go, the watch that all criticized becomes much different… and much better.
The SIHH 2017 Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber Limited Editions
Sometimes, you don’t need to recreate a whole design to make it different. Slight touches here and there can be sufficient to drastically improve or differentiate. it is the case with the Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber Limited Editions. But first, back to basics. The Piaget Polo S is a “sports luxury watch” that has been made to attract new clients to the company, younger and more active collectors that could be inclined in larger, less “black tie” inspired watches (understand here the Altiplano, meaning Piaget’s signature style). The Piaget Polo S is steel, 42mm, combines round and cushion shapes and is sporty (but not a real sports watch either). its shape was clearly more inspired by the Emperador collection and not really by the 1980s Polo collection (I won’t change my mind on this… the combination of round bezel and cushion-shaped dial is the Emperador. See this watch for illustration). Still, the Emperador is a signature design of the brand, and a good one on top of that.
The case of the Piaget Polo S measures 42mm – for the 3-hand or the chronograph version – and has a polished finish, to the exception of the bezel that is horizontally brushed. Cases are rather slim (below 10mm for the 3-hand) and the overall execution is precise and pleasant to the eye. As said, two options were available: a 3-hand and a chronograph. Both come with in-house movements with great pedigree. The 3-hand Piaget Polo S features the calibre 1110P – 4Hz, automatic winding with central rotor, 50 hours of power reserve, HMS + date (based on the Piaget 800P Calibre). The decoration is pleasant (circular Geneva Stripes, blued screws, polished bevels, blackened rotor with Piaget blazon engraved). On its side, the chronograph version adopts the Calibre 1160P, an integrated, in-house bi-compax chronograph movement with date and actuated by column-wheel and vertical clutch (a modern and reliable architecture, based on the 880P calibre). The decoration is in the same vein as the 3-hand version: more than satisfying. These two movements are back in the Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber Limited Editions.
On the left side, the 3-hand 1110P – on the right side, the chronograph 1160P
Three dials were available on the 3-hand version (silver, grey and blue) and 2 for the chronograph (Silver and blue). Dial and hands were qualitative – even if the Piaget logo on the counterweight of the second hand is debatable. Nice horizontal grooves on the dial, bold hands and luxurious applied markers… Overall, nice but not very new (this is where this watch became too close from certain other timepieces). It was attached to a metallic bracelet, alternating between polished and brushed surfaces (again, not very new…). But his is about to change with the new Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber Limited Editions.
Basically, you take the same ingredients, add one or two spices and hope for the best. But you know that some spices can change a whole recipe. And here, with these limited editions, something pretty cool happened. What changes? First, the round / cushion bezel is now coated with black ADLC (Richemont Group’s version of the Diamond Like Coating). Then, the dials are made with that same black color. Finally, au revoir to the metallic bracelet, which has been changed for a nice rubber strap, with stitchings (again, sporty but not too much). With this, the Piaget Poio S gains in personality and differentiate. Proportions and style are changed, even if the basics are still here. More contrast, less shine, a virtually smaller case (even if still 42mm, the black bezel makes it visually smaller) and a bolder style that remains discreet and wearable in most conditions.
There’s nothing big in these Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber Limited Editions. It is not the evolution of the century. It certainly didn’t take the Piaget teams months of research and development to achieve this. However, a new color for the dial, a black coated bezel (and luckily only the bezel, which is enough to create contrast) and a rubber strap and you have a world of difference. This is the Piaget Polo S that we’d love to have seen at first. It looks more subtle, smaller, less shiny, a bit more sporty and overall, I fell it as being more Piaget. I think I can remove all my critics and say openly that I love this watch. Best part comes from the price, slightly below the steel bracelet versions – $8,900 for the 3-hand (versus $9,350) and $11,950 for the chronograph (versus $12,400). Both are limited to 888 pieces. Considering the overall quality, the brand that is printed on the dial and the movements that power these watches, it is quite a competitive offer. www.piaget.com.
Specifications of the Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber 3-hand
- Case: 42mm diameter x 9.4mm height – steel case with ADLC coated bezel – sapphire crystal on both faces – 100m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre 1110P, in-house – automatic – 4Hz – 50h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: black stitched rubber with steel pin-buckle
- Limited to 888 pieces
Specifications of the Piaget Polo S Black ADLC / Rubber Chronograph
- Case: 42mm diameter x 11.2mm height – steel case with ADLC coated bezel – sapphire crystal on both faces – 100m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre 1160P, in-house – automatic integrated chronograph with column-wheel – 4Hz – 50h power reserve – hours, minutes, date, chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counter
- Strap: black stitched rubber with steel pin-buckle
- Limited to 888 pieces