New and Reviewed: Piaget Polo 79

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Reincarnation of the classic Piaget Polo Ref. 7761 C701 from 1979 as the new Polo 79 Ref. GOA49150. We got our hands on the pre-release sample earlier this year, and here is our review of the novelty.

New and Reviewed: Piaget Polo 79

The Piaget Polo 79 has a retail price of SGD 106,000 inclusive of GST. The model is produced to a limited annual number, and is not a limited edition.

This is a reincarnation of the classic Piaget Polo Ref. 7761 C701, with some new features. Gone is the crown on the case back. The new Polo 79 now features a conventional crown at 3 o’clock. And while the rest of the design language and architecture refers to the same blueprint, the case size is enlarged from 34mm to 38mm. And the proportions are such that, without the vintage and new watch side by side, it is hard to tell that the new case is larger. The movement is also renewed, and in place of the quartz ultra thin Cal. 7P, the new watch now features an automatic movement Cal. 1200PI.

The case dial and hands

The first impression when first unboxing is that this is a dead ringer for the original Polo. The watch looks almost exactly the same as the 1979 creation. The gadroons on the dial matches to those on the bezel. the bracelet flows naturally from the case in a harmonious and clean look. And though the design dates back some 45 years, it looks fresh and as green as ever.

Piaget Polo Ref. 7761 from circa 1980. Watch is property of Piaget.

Pick up the watch from its resting place in the box. And one is immediately impressed by the heft of the piece. The Piaget specifications have the watch weighing a nominal 200g (depending on bracelet length). In our original review of the vintage Polo, the watch we had on hand, with bracelet cut for about a 7inch wrist weighed in at 145g. But more than the weight, the structure felt like it was hewn from one piece of gold, which it obviously is not. The bracelet was flexible, and yet, it had a structural integrity of feeling extremely solid. Very impressive.

The design showcases an alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces. This became a signature look for the Polo. The design featured prominently displayed gadroons, which are decorative edging on metal formed by parallel rounded strips known as reeds. This looked like inverted fluting which have been ruled over the entire case, dial and bracelet. These cues enabled an visual integration of the bracelet links to be carried over to the dial for a seamless aesthetic.

The dial has the same 4 lines of gadroons which matches those on the bezel. The gadroon design continues on to the entire bracelet. And like the original, the dial is otherwise minimalistic. With no hour markers, and only a series of dots indicating the minutes. The 60 dots are arranged in the peripheral of the dial, with each 5 minute mark being shown as slightly larger.

The movement: Cal. 1200PI

The movement in the Polo 79 is the manufactured movement developed in-house by Piaget. The Cal. 1200PI is an ultra thin construction, with micro rotor. Piaget claims the movement, with a thickness of only 2.35 to be the thinnest in the world. Tied with their Cal. 1208, which is basically the same movement, but with a small seconds indicator. The Cal. 1200 only has hours and minutes display.

The movement finishing is excellent. And a typical of the level of detail and styling that we are used to for Piaget. All the haute horlogerie elements are address well, and though none stand out as particularly superb, none stand out as below expectation either. We particularly like the way the côtes on the bridges are made – as côtes circular instead of the more usual côtes Genève.

The Competitive landscape

The obvious competitor to the Polo 79 is the Vacheron Constantin 222. The VC itself, also a reincarnation of the original 222, with some modern touches, most notably a new modern movement. Both are pitched at a similar price point, circa SGD 100k. And both are not limited editions, but very small production numbers.

Vacheron Constantin 222.

Both are in solid gold, with gold integrated bracelet. Both are near faithful to their originals. And though both are obviously a response to the popularity of the Gerald Genta based designs in the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus Jumbo, they are not designed by Genta. The Polo is the design of Yves Piaget, and the VC the work of Jorg Hysek. Which is better suited for you? May we suggest if your wallet allows, buying both will be a start of a vintage inspired modern watch collection, and these two pieces are absolute cornerstones. Worth their weight in gold.

Concluding thoughts

The Polo 79 is a beautiful watch. In so many dimensions. Not only aesthetically. But also appeals to the other senses. And most importantly, it recaptures the spirit of the original Polo from way back in 1979. The watch has the heft, feel of the vintage model. The look of the dial remains. The design of the case which disappears into the bracelet band making it appear to be one massive piece is retained. But the watch is throughly modern.

To say that we were impressed with the new Polo 79 is an understatement. I was somewhat overwhelmed when I first encountered the watch earlier in January. The feel of the watch – its heft, its structural integrity, and the way it felt on the wrist is remarkable. The visual is at the same time vintage, but also quite modern. The design aesthetics are spot on perfect.

We consider the Piaget Polo 79 to be a triumph for Piaget, and they have pulled off this novelty in superb style. Chapeau!