In front of a packed house of roughly 500 invited guests Thursday evening at the Brooklyn Naval Yards, high-end Swiss watchmaker Piaget unveiled an unusual new timepiece: a stainless steel-cased casual watch for under $10,000.
For many other Swiss brands, which have been trying to entice new buyers with inexpensive and entry-level offerings in stainless steel for a couple of years now, this would be an unremarkable announcement. But for Piaget, the maker of ultra-slim luxury watches in gold, platinum and titanium that mostly retail in the $20,000 to $40,000 range, this is a surprise.
The new line of stainless steel watches is called the Polo S range, and each houses a new in-house movement. There are five different models in total—three color variants of a simple 3-hand and date model, and two colors in a chronograph style. The dial is cushion-shaped, in proper Piaget fashion, and it's nestled in a round 42mm case. The bezel is flat brushed steel with a polished beveled edge, the lugs are polished, and the bracelet has a contrasting polished and satin-finished steel pattern. Overall the piece has a very, I can wear this anywhere, sort of vibe to it. Slim at 9.4mm thick (11.2mm for the chrono), the piece is substantial enough to be worn casually, while remaining slender enough to hide under your shirt cuff when situations call for more formal attire.
At first blush, the watch does look similar to the iconic Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711. The case proportions are similar, as is the fact that it comes with blue and silver dials—not to mention that both have similar horizontal ridges running across their dials and slender silver-trimmed baton hour markers as well. But anyone in the market for Patek’s Nautilus (which retails for more than double the price of the Polo S) won’t be cross-shopping it against the Piaget. The price is too far apart, and brand loyalists will all stick with their own kind.
The Polo S is going on sale immediately in Piaget’s flagship boutiques, priced at $9,350 for the 3-hand date and $12,400 for the chronograph.