Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Outside of the decently well-selling Altiplano collection, it does not always appear that Piaget has a specific strategy when it comes to their men's watches. In fact, if there was one really nice high-end brand that produced their own movements inside of the Richemont Group that might benefit from a bit of an image injection on the men's side, it is Piaget - at least in my opinion. That doesn't mean Piaget isn't still making some really nice watches, it just takes a bit of time (and money) to enjoy and learn about them. Take, for example, this very lovely and quite ritzy Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton watch.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

At least, that is the name I've given the watch. Piaget's website doesn't even give the watch a name that sounds right outside of the reference numbers (there is an 18k rose gold and 18k white gold version). An interesting note is that the movement inside of the 18k rose gold version is actually in 18k rose gold (the white gold-cased model does not have a gold movement). So, according to Piaget, this is the "Piaget Emperador tourbillon skeleton cushion-shaped watch," which doesn't sound very strong. To a degree, I understand the issue because this is essentially a cosmetic upgrade to a very similar watch from 2011. Back then, we went hands-on with the Piaget Emperador Coussin Tourbillon Automatic Ultra-Thin here. Each uses a 1270-family movement, with the previous 2011 watch using an in-house-made caliber 1207P, while this new 2015 version uses the caliber 1207S. What's different? Only the skeletonization style - but that makes it look really different.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Off the wrist, the Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton case is interesting and often attractive (depending on your perspective). On the wrist, it really depends on how thick your arms are. At 46.5mm wide, this is a nicely bold watch, but one that will look a bit silly on smaller wrists. On the correct wrists, there is certainly a handsome regality to the graceful curves and obvious distinct aesthetic elements.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Even though the Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton case is interesting, the main attraction here is the movement. When the 1270 originally came out, it was the world's thinnest automatic tourbillon caliber. It might now still hold the record if you further refine the definition to the "thinnest automatic tourbillon skeleton movement." The 1270S is 5.05mm thick, but other watches have thinner automatic tourbillons by this point. For example, the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Tourbillon which is also an automatic with a movement that is just 3.4mm thick... but of course, it is not skeletonized (yet). The Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton case is 8.85mm thick. That isn't as insanely thin as some other Piaget watches (such as the Altiplano 900P), but for a case like this and movement like this, it ain't half bad.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The caliber 1270S is a fine-looking mechanism designed to be wide and thin. Piaget's engineering strategy was to separate all the elements horizontally rather than vertically stack them. Thus, on more or less the same plane you have areas for the tourbillon, automatic micro-rotor, and a small dial to indicate the time. An added benefit, of course, is that the wearer can easily view each of these areas at the same time. I believe that the previous 1270P version actually has a power reserve indicator as well on the rear of the movement - which does not appear to be part of the 1270S.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

With that said, the dial execution of the 1270S is indeed very nice, and the skeletonization job is very attractive. Even though there are two black dauphine hands to read the time, there isn't even an hour marker scale, so please try not to form high hopes for legibility in a timepiece such as this.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The 1270S movement is made from 225 parts, operating at 3Hz (21,600 bph), and power reserve is about 42 hours. The skeletonization and finishing is an elegant mixture of modern techniques and traditional aesthetics. Piaget designed it to really focus on the curves of the bridges while applying a brushed finishing to the bridges with some light beveling. Its all quite nice. How do you feel about the rather prominent Seal of Geneva logo on the micro-rotor? Also note the Piaget "P" on the cage of the flying tourbillon. Oh, and depending on the model, the micro-rotor is black-coated platinum or rose gold. Again, the movement in the 18k rose gold model has a matching rose gold material movement.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

While the Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton is mostly an elegant watch, it is also very much a "showy" watch designed to display the case, movement, and high-end finishing. In my opinion, this is often where Piaget is the most comfortable. I just feel that they need to develop a bit more personality for these watch families on a higher level so that collectors have built in perceptions and feelings when seeing these watches as opposed to trying to understand each of them from scratch with each new release.

Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget offers the Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Skeleton as the reference G0A40042 in 18k rose gold and the reference G0A40041 in 18k white gold. Price is $265,000 and $194,000 respectively.

What do you think?
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  • Raymond Wilkie

    Lovely, but totally useless after dusk

  • Lovely watch (wait, Raymond just said that) and fully compliant with the new Swiss watch law that mandates that all new designs must have tourbillons with arm hairs visible when worn.

  • Bruce Wang

    Too many “screw me out challenge” on the dial

    • Shinytoys

      Don’t tell Ray …

  • RM

    nobody bothered by the 71.000$ difference charged for the used material?

    • iamcalledryan

      No because that is little to do with the price. If you expect to subtract the two prices and hit the cost of the material, sure, but why would that be the case? There is more than just cost of material at play here. Patek for example can charge more for steel vs WG.

      Whether people like it or not it’s about exclusivity. A buyer prepared to spend $20k on a watch might prefer to spend it on a rose gold model despite the more common steel option offering better value. Why? Because they like the material but moreso because it will either be explicitly limited or implicitly limited and as a consequence will likely hold its value even more strongly than its more common sibling.

      Take a look at the Only Watch Auction. You get a few genuinely new mechanics, but largely its an existing model with a new dial, or a different color handset, or a single numeral is altered. To assume that the price differential is therefore all in the material of that change is clearly not correct. It’s a unique piece.

      If I can see the value in the more common variant I am not bothered that a brand supplements its offerings with limited, more precious, more profitable models. They are not demanding that I pay it so its hard to be bothered by it.

    • SuperStrapper

      You missed the note about the rose gold iteration seen in this article containing a solid gold movement, wherein the white gold model does not have a movement made from precious metal.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s stunning and you don’t want to say anything bad about it, but it’s unreadable. Is it technically a cushion case when the overall case profile is still round?

    • iamcalledryan

      I vote round-cushion!

    • Shinytoys

      Yes, that makes two of us that had to look twice for the watch hands. Slick movement either way.

    • egznyc

      Right – it’s a round case with a cushion interior space for the movement.

  • DanW94

    That bulky looking cushion case and stubby lugs belie an otherwise attractive dial. And once again the actual time telling function is secondary to the other goodies being displayed.(Not that I’m bothered by that, the buyer decides what’s important in their watch). The movement side is really attractive.

  • SuperStrapper

    Handsome and interesting, but what do you do with it? I’m not some drippy pissflap that has my heels dug in on a dress wach needing to be no bigger than 38mm, but this is a monster of a watch, and wearing it black tie would make you look like a douche. But I also can’t see this being comfortable alongside a pair of jeans either. Again, I have a general distaste for skeleton watches, and picture #11 showing Ariel’s squished wrist and flatten hair through the dial explains why, but I will admit that this is one of the more acceptable attempt in my book. The bridges are sturdy and well thought out, and aside from the wrist view I’ve never liked the look of a mainspring, especially when you start getting toward the end of the PR. The movement here does a good job of being skeletonized while also hiding away the mainspring in the belly of the watch. I think a PR indicator here would be useless, as I don’t think they suit automatic watches, and when yu can see the mainspring you have a sniff at PR overview anyway. I am a little put off by the movement finishing on the tops of the bridges, the half-in starburst pattern looks more like slightly greasy fingerprints. The bridgework that connects the rotor and the tourbillion in a quiet note to a figure8 or infinity symbol is a nice touch, and should play very well in Asian markets.

  • Shinytoys

    Having a wee bit of difficulty reading the thing, not that’s an important issue from a watch. Still love me some Piaget! !!

  • It took three viewings of the pictures for me to figure out where the hands were.

    Also, why is the rose gold model more expensive than the white gold? There’s no way a movement contains $71,000 worth of rose gold. That would be like 3 and a half pounds of gold.

    • SuperStrapper

      A Mark Rothko contains less than $100 in raw materials. Know what a Mark Rothko sells for?

      • iamcalledryan

        A new car vs one-day-old one

        First class ticket vs economy

        Tickets to a premier vs renting on itunes

        A pair of shoes vs Elvis’ shoes

        To simply subtract one from the other is never going to comprehensively explain the material costs and ultimate value differential!

        I vote Ariel gets an economist to write an article about supply, demand and elasticity here so we can get past this.

        • JimBob

          I think the position here is that anyone who would pay an extra $71k to get it made with $1500 worth of gold should be murdered and their estate should be distributed to the proletariat.

      • But that’s not an apt comparison; you could have chosen virtually any painter and attempted to compare the value of his work to the cost of his materials. A person would buy a Rothko over a Joe Schmo because he wants the name “Rothko” hanging on his wall. Not because he thinks canvas futures are going to skyrocket.

        In this case, the watches carry the same name – Piaget. They’re virtually the same watch, with the price difference ostensibly being for materials used in the movement. You can’t say that it costs more to machine rose gold than it does steel, or white gold because it doesn’t. You can’t say that the price difference is due to material cost, because it isn’t.

        It’s artificial exclusivity, and unjustified. People wonder why the Swiss Watch industry is in trouble. This is one reason.

        • SuperStrapper

          I didn’t, and it was just an arbitrary choice of artists as I looked up on my wall at my Rothko. But, again, the movements between the 2 watches are different materials. One is not rose gold and the other white gold. Only one of them is gold. 3 and a half pounds of gold? No, but twll me about 1 single gold watch in the history of watches where the cost of the product was based solely on the cost of materials. You’re completely dismissing not only the value of the artistry involved, but the design work required, skilled craftsmen needed, and the difference in production techniques between the different types of metal. It’s a richer tapestry than just the basic value of the raw materials, which is the entirety of your original comment.

          Alright, my Rothko is a print. I admit it.

          • Juan-Antonio Garcia

            You were doing great until the last line 🙂

          • The cost of one watch might not be based solely on the materials, but the difference in price between two identical watches manufactured by the same company in different materials absolutely should reflect the cost of those materials and labor. And usually does. A Seamaster chrono in Titanium costs about $2000 more than a Seamaster Chrono in stainless steel. Because it costs about that much more to machine titanium. A Contellation Globemaster in steel costs $7000; in two tone steel and 18K gold, it costs $11,000. Because the latter contains about $4,000 worth of gold and associated labor.

            The difference in “design work and artistry” has no cost multiplier in the Piaget – the movements in both models are designed exactly the same. One is cast in rose gold, the other machined in stainless steel. In fact, the stainless movement’s rotor is machined in platinum, which, taking into account materials and labor, would alone cost more than the half of the rose gold bridges and cages in the other movement. (18K gold today costs about $920 an ounce. Platinum is $940. A 2mm 18K rose gold wedding band costs retail about $300. An identical sized platinum ring costs about $500).

            It’s not like the gears, hairspring, and screws are made of gold in the more expensive model. Those parts are identical in both watches.

            It does not cost $71,000 more to bevel the edges of rose gold than it does to bevel the edges of stainless steel. It does not cost $71,000 more to assemble it. It does not cost $71,000 more to decorate or embellish it. In fact, from a technical standpoint, it’s easier to work with gold than it is with steel.

            I understand that these watches represent haute horology, and not the commodities market, and that the value is ultimately set by the collector. Especially if the more expensive offering happens to have been produced in much fewer numbers than the less expensive one. Also, if you have that sort of money to throw around in the first place, it doesn’t take much to justify the added cost. From an objective perspective, though, it’s unjustifiable.

  • Larry Holmack

    “On the wrist, it really depends on how thick your arms are. At 46.5mm wide, this is a nicely bold watch, but one that will look a bit silly on smaller wrists.”

    Ariel…I’m betting that the guy who has the kind of disposable income to purchase one of these really doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about his watch! And by the way…it really looks nice on your wrist.

    • Roma KLM

      I think if your guy didn’t give a damn about other people’s opinion he wouldn’t pay a few hundred thousands for a piece of decorated metal .

      • Larry Holmack

        That’s true! My great Uncle was a multi-millionaire, he was the Senior VP of International Sales where he worked. When he passed in 1993…he still had his 1970’s Chrysler Cordoba, a 1960’s era Mercedes, and he only wore Timex watches. He lived in a very nice area of town, but was very frugal.

  • Mike Burdine

    i like it but really it is a little pricey…Don’t you think?

  • egznyc

    Beautiful movement – and not only because I love a micro rotor – and really interesting case design too. But this thing is awfully large for what is surely meant to be a dressier piece.

  • Sevenmack

    I am repulsed and in lust with this Piaget all at once. Repulsed because of the gold. Ugh. In lust because the skeletonization is just plain divine. Gorgeous. Otherworldly even. The size is not bad either; it looks like it wears smaller than its diameter. This would be acceptable in the white gold offering, and would be just plain wonderful in stainless steel if Piaget offered that option (and it should).

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    Piaget has a special gift to execute high horology in a way that when you look at it you just yawn and walk away.

  • funNactive

    I love the micro-rotor, the Tourbillon & the skeleton style. However, this watch is way too large & hard to tell the time.