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Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P Watch With Quartz Regulator

Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P Watch With Quartz Regulator Watch Releases

Well, this Piaget limited edition watch for SIHH 2016 wasn’t expected, but it is certainly interesting. People will definitely be talking about Piaget’s $70,000+ mechanical/quartz hybrid that, in design, borrows from the previously released Piaget Emperador Coussin Tourbillon (hands-on here). Visually, just by looking at the watch, you’d have no real way of knowing that it contains a piece of more-modern technology in addition to its “mechanical backbone.”

According to Piaget, this limited edition Emperador Coussin XL 700P is dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the first quartz watch movement that Piaget developed in-house back in 1976-  the caliber 7P. Piaget continues to offer quartz movements for most of its women’s watches, and it isn’t alone in doing so, as many high-end women’s watches from brands such as Cartier, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet all contain quartz movements. This is, however, exceedingly rare when it comes to the same for high-end men’s watches from these brands.

Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P Watch With Quartz Regulator Watch Releases

Inside the Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P is the in-house produced 700P movement which is new for 2016. In essence, it is probably similar to something between a Seiko Kinetic and Seiko Spring Drive from a technological standpoint. Though at this price level, you are going to see a lot more high-quality finishing and attention to “luxury” detail. The 700P movement is mostly mechanical, especially when it comes to the fact that it is powered by a spinning automatic rotor. Piaget hasn’t mentioned a mainspring in their documentation, so I assume that the spinning of the automatic rotor directly charges a capacitor which then feeds energy to a quartz crystal-based regulation system, this is why the concept is so similar to that of a Seiko Kinetic. The 700P doesn’t have a “battery” in the sense that the power reserve is only 42 hours when fully “charged.”

Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P Watch With Quartz Regulator Watch Releases

Piaget designed the 700P to replace the traditional mechanical balance wheel and escapement with an electronic quartz regulator that is hidden from view when looking at the movement. Like I said, when viewing the movement, a trained eye can easily tell it isn’t a traditional mechanical caliber, but it obviously isn’t a quartz movement either. I believe Piaget’s goal was to once again introduce the concept of a fine Swiss quartz movement similar to those that existed in the 1970s starting with the famed Beta 21. Aesthetically, the 700P looks beautiful with its hand-finished parts and combination of light and dark elements. The movement is produced from 298 parts and operates at the typical quartz frequency of 32,768 Hz.

Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P Watch With Quartz Regulator Watch Releases

The funny thing is how the Piaget documentation discusses the benefits of quartz versus mechanical timekeeping as though it was new. Actually, for some people it may be. The bias against quartz watches among luxury watch lovers is so deep that I am pretty sure many mechanical watch lovers don’t even know many of the specifics of how quartz movements work, or why there were so preferred to mechanical movements from a performance perspective when they first started to become popular in the late 1960s and especially during the 1970s.

The 700P is 5.5mm thick as a movement, and the entire watch case is probably twice that thickness with a case diameter of 46.5mm. The Emperador Coussin XL retains its hip cushion-shape in 18k white gold with a black ADLC-coated bezel giving it a bit more of a sporty look. On the dial is a solid gold and engraved micro-rotor that connects directly the “quartz generator” and also a subsidiary dial for the time. I am not totally sure, but I believe there is further visual movement from the element on the dial to the upper right – which is supposed to spin at a rate of 5.33 turns per second.

Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P Watch With Quartz Regulator Watch Releases

On the back of the watch is a visible power reserve indicator which is very interesting for this type of watch, and helps echo the functionality of the all-mechanical versions of the Emperador Coussin XL. Attached to the case is a black alligator strap.

I personally appreciate that Piaget is doing this as a true movement maker with true history in this area. Smartwatches have made electronic watches cool again and the traditional Swiss watch industry now has new reason to become reacquainted with its own history working with electronic movements. There is a sort of amusing irony to a watch like the Emperador Coussin XL 700P that I am sure is not lost to Piaget, but at the end of the day you get a very nice looking, very accurate, and probably very reliable luxury conversation piece.

Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P Watch With Quartz Regulator Watch Releases

We will continue to see how the luxury watch industry plays with unique concepts like this, which are strictly for the dedicated collectors who can appreciate the interesting things done here, and who can use the irony of the watch as an affirming reason to choose a watch like this. Of course, the 700P will be easy to criticize given the larger trend the luxury watch industry has had with its position toward men’s quartz watches, but then again that just makes the conversation around what Piaget is doing all that more interesting.

Limited to just 118 pieces and presented soon at SIHH 2016, the Piaget Emperador Coussin XP 700P is priced at about $70,800. piaget.com

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  • Raymond Wilkie

    “What time is it ? “,………. “erm,give me a minute ”
    “What date is it ” …………. “not sure ”
    “Are you a bit thick ?”,…….”Why yes sir, i am , what gave it away ?”

    • “Yes, I’m a bit thick but my Piaget watch is thin.”

  • Edgar

    This sounds familiar but nothing Springs to mind. Hopefully something could Drive my memory. Also this technology was interesting when it was implemented in production level watches in 1999 and at least those were not this hideous or overpriced.

    • Nateb123

      Piaget marketing department memo:

      Sorry,
      Everyone’s
      Imagining
      Knowing
      Of other brands that have already done this sort of thing…

      • iamcalledryan

        You guys are going to great length for the sake o’ making a joke.

  • WINKS

    All that precision and no second hand?

  • Boogur T. Wang

    Legibility is a bot low on this one. And, as mentioned, no second hand?
    At 71k with change, it could’ve been better me thinks.

  • resonator resonator

    Oh that’s rich man. Who do they think they are F.P. Journe?

  • MEddie90

    So basically its a spring drive without the smooth second hand sweep (the main selling point imho), without the legibility and without the understated looks…. i’m not entirely sold on this one.

    Piaget make some really cool watches (their ultra slim hand-wind chronograph is awesome) and i’m interested to see result of the swiss taking hybrid watches onboard but these skeletonised dials just turn their usually conservative and legible watches into obnoxious, illegible messes.

    Edit: And I’ve just seen the price tag… definitely not in the affordable range.

  • iamcalledryan

    Left field! Would be great if they would actually share some information about the movement! It does seem to be like the spring drive but with a more attractive movement. But as mentioned by others, the lack of second hand, or even the ability to read the time to the nearest minute, seems like a misfire.

    Watch this space guys, the hybrid is finally being tentatively embraced by the Swiss.

    • egznyc

      While it’s a weird design which doesn’t do much for me, I suppose some wealthy hipster somewhere is happy to strap this on, since knowing what time it is matters less than irony, man.

    • Seems more like a Seiko Kinetic than a Spring Drive from they presented here.

      • iamcalledryan

        I thought so too, but on another reputable watch blog there was a little more technical info.

      • Whoisi

        With genuine upgrade capacitor, my 19 year-old Seiko Kinetic watch has a power reserve more than 2 months. Moreover the original capacity still has a power reserve 7 days which is more than this movement.

  • egznyc

    Ah, I see … That little swirling “high precision” (in case one were to be in doubt) thingie in the upper right also serves as the savant’s indicator of time down to the 1/5.33 second. Just keep counting revolutions and you’ll keep up fine!

  • Putting “high precision” on the dial irks me to no end. It’s not like I’ll ever own this piece, or really even want it, but superfluous, overly descriptive text of any kind is a design killer. Really, I need to be reminded every day that my watch is an “automatic”? It’s funny, my car doesn’t inform me of this.

    • iamcalledryan

      If you are going to put that on the dial you at least need a seconds hand and a chapter ring with intermediary scale between each second/minute.

    • Richie_P6

      You must drive a really old or really interesting car. My car has badges on the exterior advertising the V6 engine, stamps on the dash advertising the airbags, even a little sign on the instrument panel reminding me it has ABS. None of this is remarkable stuff, but the car brags about it like it’s really something special. Whats more, I see all of these signs on most modern cars from most manufactures along with some other stuff I forget. It’s actually the auto industry that can learn from the watch industry to dial back on the unneccesary labeling.

  • SuperStrapper

    I wou ask ‘tick, or sweep?’ but iit doesn’t matter because there is no seconds indication. Weird.

  • BNABOD

    hum, so for 70K and with some quartz I get 42 hours of PR? seems to be on the pricey side for what you get. Also what makes this one so special in terms of finish vs. a Grand Seiko spring drive aside from the exclusivity? would be nice to go into more details rather than Piaget + LE + Quartz + obese = 70K equation

  • IanE

    I have always felt that the balance wheel and escapement are the heart of a mechanical watch (as well as being what even allowed them to exist). To sacrifice that in favour of a pacemaker thus really seems counter to the ethos of the (admittedly obsolescent, in practical terms) mechanical watch. The Japanese have a different world view and a different history to the West, so Seiko’s Spring Drive seems OK (to me), but for the Swiss to do this just seems like the beginnings of surrender. To do so with a poorly legible piece without even a second hand seems even worse!

  • DanW94

    Curious choice for Piaget’s initial foray into this hybrid technology know for it’s superior accuracy. No second hand and a less than legible dial? Instead of trying to combine style and improved performance with a smarter design at a digestible price they jumped right into the high end luxury market with it. Interesting to see what the focus of future Swiss watches using this type of movement will be.

  • Shinytoys

    Piaget walks a fine line with this unit. It’s an odd duck. Are they saying that their mechanical pieces can only be razor sharp time keepers only if governed by a quartz check system? I never thought that to be true of this company. They make beautiful engines that keep fine time in a pure mechanical sense. The price screams high end mechanical. Curious?

  • Y’all just don’t get “it”. This Piaget was developed for the collectors who collectively told Piaget, “We love the look of the Emperador Coussin Tourbillon, but would prefer it to be a bit sportier and definitely more affordable.”

  • Amused to see the “Automatic” engraved on the case back…

  • Richie_P6

    This is explained a lot better in some other articles. The technology is pretty much the same as Seiko Spring Drive and not at all like a Seiko Kinetic. This watch is powered by a mainspring, has no battery or capacitor, and certainly no electronic step motor. Even the advertised power reserve and accuracy are like that of the Spring Drive. (There have been Swiss watches that worked on the same principle as Kinetic, and they were called “mechaquartz.”)
    I have doubts, however, that this will ever become for Piaget what the Spring Drive is for Seiko. Seiko considers Spring Drive to be their absolute best movements, even though they make arguably the best 5 Hz movements. Piaget’s specialty is thinness and jewelry pieces, and it would seem a little out of character for them to put much focus on promoting a new obscure technology. It doesn’t look like Piaget is making much marketing effort here, just calling it the 700P and not even trying to coin a term for the tech like Seiko did. I also think their pricing strategy is all wrong. Spring Drive is pretty cool feature, and it’s really exciting in the $3k-$6k watch market where you rarely find anything interesting. But for $70k there are a whole lot of other really cool features you can get on a watch.
    Honestly, I hope Piaget sells the patent or leases rights to a more mainstream company like Omega, Breitling, or Tag who can feature the tech in a line of watches accessible to more watch lovers.