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The New Piaget Polo 79 Marks the Return of an Eighties Icon

Piaget Polo 79

When I think about the Piaget Polo, I tend to call to mind the most recent additions to the collection such as the Polo Field from last year and 2021’s Ultra-Thin Polo Skeleton. However, these steel, cushion cased watches are quite different in style and design from their progenitor. The original being an 18k gold timepiece with an integrated bracelet and round case – a design that makes a triumphant return in the form of the new Piaget Polo 79.

Piaget Polo Advert 1983
Piaget Polo 79

The Polo first made its debut in 1979, hence the name of the new watch, and was a response to the increasing interest in steel sports watches (cough, Nautilus and Royal Oak, cough) that was swelling in the seventies and that reached a fever pitch in the eighties. At the time, Piaget worked exclusively in precious metals meaning they couldn’t jump on the steel case train and therefore had to think outside the box on how to approach a sports watch. While also remaining distinct from the sea of Genta and Genta inspired watches emerging.

Piaget Polo 79
Piaget Polo 79

Piaget’s answer to those historic design challenges can be seen in the structure and style of the tribute Polo 79. Horizontal gadroons (a decorative strip with rounded edges) in polished 18k gold alternate with brushed blocks to create a highly distinctive segmented design that repeats ad infinitum across the bracelet, 38mm case and dial. It feels rich and luxurious, more at home at a gala or evening soirée than anywhere near a sports field. And yet that’s the original purpose of the watch, to be worn both in the clubhouse and on the field, thanks to a case that’s both water resistant and shock resistant, protecting the movement inside.

Piaget Polo 79

Where the Polo 79 differs from the original 1979 version is that it houses a mechanical movement as opposed to a quartz one. Specifically, it uses the Calibre 1200P1, an ultra-thin automatic movement with 44-hour power reserve and time only functions. It’s visible through the watch’s exhibition caseback, where you can see the calibre’s golden micro-rotor and combination of perlage and concentric Côtes de Genève finishing. I half think the finishing would’ve been cooler if it featured horizontal stripes of the same width as the brushed blocks of the case so that the pattern continued across the movement as well.

Piaget Polo 79
Piaget Polo 79

This is by no means a watch that will be to everyone’s tastes. It’s incredibly distinctive and in no way subtle on the wrist at all. Plus, the full 18k gold construction means it has a £69,000 price tag, making it very exclusive. But with a style that just drips of the eighties and a vintage 38mm sizing that’s very popular among men and women right now, it’s sure to find a place in many collections. If you do want to take the Polo at name value and wear it on the field, I’d probably recommend one of the steel models I mentioned in the introduction and save the Polo 79 for occasions that call for a dress watch.

Price and Specs:

Model: Piaget Polo 79
Case: 38mm diameter x 7.35mm thickness, 18k yellow gold
Dial: Gold gadroon and brushed block pattern
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Piaget calibre 1200P1, automatic, 25 jewels
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 44h
Functions: Hours, minutes
Strap: 18k yellow gold bracelet
Price: £69,000

More details at Piaget.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.

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