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Hands-on – The New Piaget Polo “Blue Panda” Automatic Chronograph

hands-on-–-the-new-piaget-polo-“blue-panda”-automatic-chronograph

Presented in 2016, the Piaget Polo made quite some noise with its design, maybe slightly too conservative. Since then, the brand has worked hard on giving this collection more personality, more Piaget-ness so to speak. Following the initial time-and-date and chronograph models, we’ve seen Piaget Polo watches with colourful dials or contrasting bezel, and of course, earlier this year, the Piaget Polo Skeleton, a highly attractive model faithful to Piaget’s ethos. Now, it’s time for the Automatic Chronograph to come back in a handsome limited edition with a silver-and-blue colour scheme, contrasting elements and an integrated rubber strap. First launched as an exclusive for Mr Porter, but soon to be available worldwide, here’s the Piaget Polo Blue Panda Automatic Chronograph.

Background

The Piaget Polo is the brainchild of Yves G. Piaget, a watchmaking engineer and a gemmologist who join the family business in 1966. Yves had a passion for horses and equestrian events, such as polo, which led the brand to sponsor the largest polo tournament in the world for six years. Using this as a way to promote his creations, he designed and created a dedicated watch, launched in 1979, the Polo, a sleek watch with a contemporary sporty/chic vibe and fully integrated bracelet. it was designed as a continuous stream of solid sculpted gold bars that wrapped around the wrist. It was then fitted with an ultra-thin quartz movement, the calibre 7P… remember that in the late 1970s, quartz was far more attractive than anything mechanical. But times have changed.

In 2016 will come the current generation of Piaget Polo, a watch that was somehow a mix between the spirit of the original 1970s watch with an integrated design and sporty cues, thus answering the growing demand for luxury sports watches, but also true to the brand’s past with a cushion-shaped case reminiscent of the Emperador collection. The shape, though, was far modernized and sleeker than the very bold 1970s Polo, for the better. Then still named Polo S, it offered initially in time-and-date and chronograph versions and boasted a relatively thin profile in keeping with the brand’s tradition of ultra-thin movements.

The Piaget Polo Automatic Chronograph, as presented in 2016, with a monochromatic blue dial and a stainless steel bracelet.

5 years later, the brand has renamed the collection in a simpler way – Piaget Polo – and multiple editions have been introduced to give the watch more personality, more originality and a more Piaget flair. The pinnacle of this transformation will be unveiled in early 2021, with the stunning Piaget Polo Skeleton, an ultra-thin watch with beautifully opened movement, a dash of colour and a more luxurious appeal, totally in line with Piaget’s spirit.

The Piaget Polo “Blue Panda”

Today, the brand unveils a new limited edition based on its classic automatic chronograph model. If the base remains unchanged, with identical proportions, case and movement, there are some noticeable updates on the design and colours that make this Piaget Polo Blue Panda probably the new highlight of the collection.

First and foremost, we still find the nicely executed cushion-shaped case of the collection, with its succession of curved lines and a combination of horizontally brushed surfaces and polished bevels – all classic elements of modern luxury sports watches. The case appears, on paper at least, fairly large with a 42mm diameter. However, its conception is clever with short lugs, a thin profile of only 11.2mm (which is really not bad for an automatic chronograph) and a strap that hugs the wrist. All in all, this version feels more like a 40mm watch once strapped around the wrist.

Other elements of the case have been retained, such as the 100m water-resistance, sapphire crystals front and caseback and well-integrated ovoid chronograph pushers. But what really changes the look of the watch and its feeling on the wrist is the new rubber strap. While already available on a not entirely integrated steel bracelet (the watch still has lugs) or classic leather straps, it now comes on a rubber strap that feels perfectly integrated into the overall design of the watch.

Not only the strap is curved between the lugs, flowing seamlessly with the case, but its surface is textured, recalling that of the dial. Finally, as said above, it changes the way the watch wraps around the wrist and makes it more balanced. And finally, it results in a more casual, slightly sportier look that actually befits the concept behind Polo.

Another drastic change is to be seen on the dial. Indeed, as indicated in its name, the Piaget Polo Blue Panda Automatic Chronograph has a two-tone dial with contrasting sub-counters. Usually only available with monochromatic blue, silver or grey dial, it now features Piaget blue sub-dials, resulting in a more attractive presence on the wrist, and more casualness too. Other than that, nothing has changed, as we still have a textured dial with horizontal grooves and a sunray-brushed surface on top. The polished steel applied markers and hands are identical too, including the seconds hand with “P” counterweight (not the most attractive…) and a metal-framed date positioned at 6 o’clock. The combination of steel/silver with blue subdials/strap is really handsome, at least for me.

Under the screwed sapphire caseback is still the Manufacture Calibre 1160P, a thin and compact integrated chronograph movement, derived from the Piaget calibre 880P and produced by ValFleurier (Richemont’s production centre). It shares its architecture with Cartier’s calibre 1904-CH. Nevertheless, it comes with best-in-town combo of column-wheel and vertical clutch and a double barrel for a 50-hour power reserve. It only measures 5.72mm in height, allowing for the watch to remain thin too. It displays the hours and minutes but no small seconds, having instead a two-register chronograph layout with 12-hour and 30-minute counters. Through the caseback, the decoration is pleasant with a blue oscillating weight, blued screws, circular Geneva stripes on all bridges and the rotor, and bevelled bridges.

Availability & Price

The Piaget Polo Blue Panda Automatic Chronograph 42mm also includes an interchangeability system on the strap, which can be removed without a tool. It is a limited edition of 888 pieces, which has been pre-launched exclusively at Mr Porter but will soon be offered from Piaget’s website and boutiques, and retailers of the brand. It is priced at EUR 15,800.

For more details, please visit piaget.com.

https://monochrome-watches.com/piaget-polo-blue-panda-automatic-chronograph-42mm-steel-rubber-g0a46013-hands-on-price/

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