It is nice to have your tastes validated, especially by people with such legendary priss a Swiss watch magazines. The magazine Montres Passion once again released the results of their annual Watch of the Year Award (2008) giving actual trophy awards to several watches in a few categories. However, the title of “watch of the year” and “best ladies’ watch” were both awarded to Piaget watches. Both watches that I like a lot; the Piaget Altiplano Petit Seconds (aka the Piaget Altiplano Eccentric Small Seconds), and the ladies’ Piaget Magic Hours.

The criteria for the two watches was very different. Men’s watches are judged based on style, mechanics, and practicality. While ladies’ watches are judged based on use of materials, beauty, and uniqueness. For example, I don’t think that any man’s watch with a quartz movement would make it anywhere near “watch of the year” but that is ok for a ladies’ watch.

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I wrote about the Piaget Altiplano Petit Seconds watch when it first came out a while ago. I had very nice things to say about it, especially given the interesting format of the small seconds. The used of the half circle to add dimension to it was nice, and even today it is difficult to identify exactly what this addition to the watch does. Since having created my own award system on, I have awarded the Piaget Altiplano Petit Seconds watch with an Seal of Approval award.

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The watch is a pure luxury watch through-and-through, all the way to the basics. Piaget, the watch maker, constructs the Caliber 838P movement entirely in-house. While the movement is bare bones basics offering only the basic time telling functionality and being manually found, it is extremely thin a 2.5mm thick, and is beautifully constructed. The power reserve is also an impressive 60 hours. Really, the design of the watch is absolute grace. Everything about it just screams classic simplicity without being classic or simple. I feel comfortable saying that this is a truly timeless looking watch. It would have looked good 100 years ago, and will look good in 100 years. Although the case is only 40mm wide, the bezel is so thin, the watch appears larger. When I was able to view the watch personally, I was even more impressed by seeing it staring back at me. The thin hands reaching to think hours markers is deceptively legible, while the understated 18k white gold case doesn’t flaunt luxury, but still is something you feel decadent wearing on your wrist. Then you turn the watch around and get a great view of its rear; literally. Even though the watch is so thin, Piaget was still able to fit in a sapphire case back for a view of its nicely decorated movement. All in all I approve of Montres Passion and their decision to celebrate not only the Piaget Altiplano collection, but the Petit Seconds model in particular. The (approximately) $10,000-$15,000 watch is something special for a great brand. I can’t certify that it would be the watch I chose for watch of the year, but it is certainly one that would be on the short list.

The Montres Passion ladies’ watch of the year award went to a creative little number known as the Magic Hours. The generic name hides the impressive and dynamic women’s watch that is really fits everything but the sportiest of occasions. Inside the watch is a small quartz movement, but you’d never really know it because the watch doesn’t have a seconds hand. Frankly, a mechanical movement would take away from this watch’s ability to be so appealing. All of the watch adjustments are done via a crown on the rear of the case, not on the side.

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Although this is a woman’s watch, I had to play around with it while at Neiman Marcus one day. The 18k gold case is very well constructed and the diamonds are cleverly placed underneath the sapphire crystal to ensure they don’t ever fall out. The satin cloth strap is attached to teh case, and would ensure a secure and comfy fit for any woman. The real kicker of the case is the ability to twist it into three positions. Gently turn the entire case and it secures itself into three positions as pictured. What this does is radically allow you to change the look of the watch and face. It is a simple trick really, but masterfully executed in this perfect little woman’s watch. The watch dial is further decorated with finely engraved machine work and lines that will make any woman feel her worth, and then some. This watch is expensive of course at about $20,000, but honestly is a good value for what you get. Consider the solid gold case, many diamonds, wonderful craftsmanship, designer name, and unique functionality, and you can’t really find anything else as nice for the price.

See Piaget watches on eBay here.

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