The Piaget Polo Skeleton is the first-ever Polo Skeleton in steel
Browsing Piaget's recent history reveals that the Swiss manufacturer has built eight different skeletonized calibers and more than ten variations so far. The brand's expertise in this class of products is apparently second to the long-established ultra-thin movement; however, when combined, skeletonization and ultra-thin turn a timepiece into a kind of magic; prove me wrong if you think the current Altiplano product range isn't that stunning. Ask a watchmaker or a watch expert what he or she thinks of skeletonized watches, and you'll realize it ranks among the most refined complications in Haute-Horlogerie. The good news is that Piaget has finally managed to skeletonize the Piaget Polo. Be aware the 2021 Polo Skeleton is not an ordinary take on a standard three-hands Polo; it's a whole new concept, and the beginning of a journey aimed at growing the collection further and closing the gap between base offer and exclusive Polo Emperador watches featuring a tourbillon or a minute repeater. That's at least what I feel.
Revealed in 1979, the Piaget Polo belongs to the club of sports watches in steel hitting the market across the seventies. Back then, low sales volumes wouldn't suggest this class of products' staggering success moving forward. The luxury steel sports watch saved the Swiss Made industry, no doubt, and it's the most wanted kind of product today. Piaget has long placed itself among the major players with the Polo collection and has now triggered a development process to enlarge the offering, I think. With Bulgari, Chopard, H. Moser & Cie. and many more unstoppably joining the party, Piaget's marketing gurus have begun applying to Polo the same treatment which made the Altiplano such a compliant and comprehensive proposition.
From what I understood while speaking to the brand's representatives, please do not regard the new Piaget Polo Skeleton as a direct competitor to other brands' propositions in the benchmark; Piaget prides itself with sitting aside the competitive landscape, its watches being the result of a strategic vision which solely holds to the brand's pedigree. I do not fully agree, and I'll explain why afterward. I can't deny the Polo Skeleton uncovers new scenarios and will attract prospects who didn't value Piaget as an option so far, as they're searching for the most exclusive premium full-steel timepiece. Skeletonization is a means to introduce a new generation of Polo watches. How often has a flagship new model foreseen a full range overhaul? The Piaget Polo Skeleton uncovers stylistic cues and functional details, setting this collection in a class of its own; the signature cushion-shaped bezel is now slimmer and is fixing what, in my opinion, looked like a misproportioned dial-to-bezel ratio, especially when dealing with a Polo chronograph.
The mechanical caliber, the skeletonized Piaget 1200S1 with a micro-rotor, required designers to slim the case down by 30% compared to a standard Piaget Polo. Boasting a 2,4 mm thickness, the S1 brings the case thickness down to 6,5 mm; please welcome the first-ever ultra-thin skeletonized Polo. The bezel is slimmer since the dial is larger than ever before; replacing a standard 1110P caliber with a 1200S1 has changed the game. Housed in a classic 42 mils case across, the 1200S1 measures 31,9 millimeters in width, over six mils more than a standard Polo. The slim case is fastened to a superbly executed H-link bracelet featuring a quick release system, and the watch comes available in two options, showcasing a slate gray or a blue dial, the second one being the option I picked for this review. The vivid PVD blue coating on the caliber's bridges is a stunner and highlights both the intricate craftsmanship and the top build quality.
The biggest letdown is you won't read this timepiece at a glance; unfortunately, it is common to most skeletonized watches, and the Polo Skeleton is no different. In contrast, it is pure joy to wrap it around your wrist; sporting a seamless integration between case and bracelet, it is perfectly balanced, and it instead feels like a steel bracelet capable of telling the time when needed. Here I come to what I stated in the first paragraph: Is the new Piaget Polo Skeleton a direct contender to any of the hot sellers out there? I guess that Piaget is playing the game against some brands, and I'll pick the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton as the leading contender. With Bulgari progressively extending the award-winning Octo Finissimo range from titanium to polished steel, I reckon the Polo Skeleton is trying and placing itself as a reference among the classic-looking skeletonized sports watches.
Offering the combination of a finely mirror polished and brushed surface, plus a replacement leather strap as standard, Piaget positioned the Polo Skeleton slightly under the 30,000 Euros threshold, which is a smart price point for a luxury skeletonized timepiece this thin and exclusive. Design, artistry, details make for a truly compelling proposition, although I believe this is not the final chapter but a new one. The Polo Skeleton welcomes the ultra-flat Polo while introducing traits and features that make the Polo more attractive and contemporary than ever before, so let's expect more to come across the entire Polo collection sometime soon.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®