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According to Piaget’s watch marketing and creation director Franck Touzeau, the plan to create Piaget’s highlight piece for this year took a decade of planning and devising. Back in 1976, Piaget had already been experimenting with quartz timepieces. The Beta 21 had been the company’s first foray into the technology. Taking it further, it decided to create an ultrathin quartz movement, which was the 7P in 1976. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 7P movement, so the company decided to experiment with the quartz oscillator once more as a high watchmaking product.
But how to innovate on a quartz movement? The plan was to create an autonomous one that would not be reliant on a battery for power. So Eric Klein, the movement designer behind a large number of Richemont’s base calibres and the renowned ValFleurier manufacture, developed an automatic electromechanical movement, the 700P to offer to collectors in a limited edition this year.
Electromechanical movements are not new, but never before have they been offered in a haute de gamme watchmaking timepiece. Piaget’s Emperador Coussin 700P brings along with it the exquisite craftsmanship of the maison and the style of the brand. If you weren’t paying attention, you might not even realise at first glance that the watch bears a quartz oscillator.
There’s little difference between a standard movement and this, except there’s an electrodynamic generator that converts mechanical energy from the barrel to electrical energy which is passed through a quartz crystal. This vibrates at 32,768Hz, and it’s then reduced to 5Hz and thus used to count the time at a more reasonable pace. The choice of 5Hz is to maintain a reasonable amount of power reserve in the barrel while keeping high accuracy, and Mr Klein explains that the watch has a precision standard of 0/+2 seconds. Theoretically, this could in fact be improved if the oscillator was counted down to more than 5Hz, and that leaves us with the possibility of future high speed complications using the 700P’s design to deliver this powerful impetus. Cool? Yeah, we think so.
Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P