What did Salvador Dalí, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor have in common?
Beside a penchant for a glamorous jet-set life, all three often wore Piaget watches, the epitome of chic in the 1960s and ’70s.
In 1967, Dalí minted the Dalí d’Or gold coins used as decorative elements for watches that the artist designed in collaboration with Piaget. Ms. Kennedy’s gold and jade watch is now in Piaget’s private museum. And after Ms. Taylor’s death in 2011, Christie’s auctioned some of her Piaget pieces, including a gold and green hard stone wristwatch with a band of wide openwork gold hoops, which sold for $80,500.
Next year, to coincide with Piaget’s 150th anniversary, the Paris-based auction house Artcurial has scheduled “Piaget 150 ans” (“Piaget 150 Years”), an auction in Monaco offering 50 vintage and modern watches and pieces of jewelry. The date of the sale has not been announced.
Piaget will not supply any lots but has said it will authenticate pieces. And Artcurial now is seeking consignments, inviting owners to have free appraisals of items at its offices in Monaco, Milan and Zurich.
“Our sale will be a celebration of the style of Piaget with pieces from the period of 1960 to 2000,” said Marie Sanna-Legrand, director of Artcurial’s jewelry and watches department. “We are now sourcing the most desirable models like secret watches, cuff bracelets and twisted gold-cord necklaces. In short, all the designs that have made the fame of Piaget.”
The house expects, she said, to include some men’s watches from the same era, “made from yellow gold and set with diamonds, since they are sold today as women’s watches.”
Piaget was founded by Georges-Édouard Piaget in 1874 in the Swiss village of La Côte-aux-Fées. By the ’60s and ’70s, it was known as an expert in ultrathin mechanical watch movements, and its goldsmith skills — reflected in long twisted gold-chain necklaces, called sautoirs in French, and gold cuff bracelets set with colorful pieces of semiprecious stones like jade, coral, tiger’s-eye and lapis lazuli — sealed its distinctive design identity.
“In the past decade, prices for vintage sautoirs and cuff bracelets have gone up by at least 50 percent,” Ms. Sanna-Legrand said. “Today, they range from 20,000 euros to 80,000 euros, depending on the materials used.” (That’s about $21,500 to $85,900.)
In July 2022, an Artcurial auction that included 13 Piaget watch and jewelry pieces had two lots sell at the top of that range: a 1970s gold and jade set comprising a pair of earrings, a ring, a twisted chain sautoir and a cuff watch, sold as one lot for €111,888, and a 1968 watch, set with diamonds and lapis lazuli, that sold for €98,280.
Piaget has continued to produce pieces inspired by its archives, as evidenced by the six hard stone dial models, which included turquoise and malachite, presented at the Watches and Wonders Geneva trade show this past spring.