Firmitas, utilitas, venustas

Angus Davies reviews the Piaget Gouverneur Automatic Calendar, a watch presented in pink gold with a harmonious dial displaying hours, minutes, central seconds and date.

Piaget Gouverneur Automatic Calendar

Vitruvius is famous for his study of architecture. In his book De architectura, now referrred to as The Ten Books on Architecture, he stated all structures must combine three qualities; “firmitas”, “utilitas” and “venustas”; solidity, function and beauty.

Approximately 1500 years later, Leonardo Da Vinci created the iconic image of the Vitruvian Man. The drawing depicted the proportionality of the human form. The ratio between various aspects of the body was appraised in detail by Leonardo, an accomplished mathematician as well as an illustrious artist.

His drawing framed the human form in a circle and a square. He talked of the “cosmografica del minor mondo”, the cosmography of the microcosm. Leonardo believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe.

Admiring the Piaget Gouverneur Automatic Calendar, I am intrigued by the architecture of this latest timepiece from the Manufacture famed for its movements and case making.

Like Leonardo, Piaget has perfectly judged proportionality and frames the living form, in this case a watch movement, with circles on the dial and case, but unlike Da Vinci, an oval is used towards the extremities of the dial.

The interplay with concentric rings within an elliptical shaped dial, mounted within a round case, provides the wearer with visual intrigue. Everything works in harmony, no discordant angles to diminish its beauty.

The dial

The dial is silver-coloured with sunburst guilloché motif punctuated with slim gold lines.

The minute and hour hands are gold, sword shaped and effortlessly convey the time succinctly with graceful demeanour.

The seconds hand is again in gold, but slim and minimalistic in its presentation.

The centre of the dial is relatively plain with the company’s name proudly displayed.

A middle circlet, is outlined with a gold border and features simple, clean, gold batons to represent the hours with four black integers in between depicting the minutes.

An aperture for the date is located near 6 o’clock. The fenestration finely outlined in gold.

The outer circlet is circular on its inner plane, yet oval on the outer edge which meets the case. Separate gold batons repeat the line of the aforementioned hour markings on the middle circlet but are surrounded by guilloché presented in a corrugated design.

The case

The case delivers style in copious quantities.

The 18-carat gold pink case is warm like a beautiful summer’s day. It provides a sunny glow which bestows a feeling of well-being.

The inner outline of the case as it interfaces with the dial is elliptical, yet the outside of the case is round.

The interhorns neatly harness the strap to the case without undue protrusion disrupting the lithe lines.

Piaget have always been masters of ultra-thin movements and this model is no exception conferring svelteness for its owner to enjoy.

The crown is knurled and bears the letter P synonymous with the brand.

The movement

Piaget is famed for its movements. This is a manufacture with immense horological competence.

The movement is only 4mm in thickness but does not forgo finissage despite its slender waist.

The 800P self-winding movement is delightfully detailed with Côtes de Genève motif, circular-grained mainplate, bevelled bridges and blued screws. But the aspect of the finishing which garners most of my affection is the gold coloured rotor, exquisitely engraved with the Piaget coat of arms.

The calibre has twin barrels resulting in an impressive power reserve of 85 hours.

Haute horology is beautifully exemplified with this movement and thankfully for watch geeks like myself, a sapphire caseback facilitates hours of admiring glances.

Conclusion

Piaget have produced a timepiece which fuses stylish details in a harmonious construct.

It imbues the wearer with a well proportioned watch, faithful to ideals of Vitruvius and Da Vinci. All elements appear to congregate cohesively.

This watch combines solidity, functionality and beauty in equal measure. The equilibrium of its form is a masterpiece to behold.

Technical specification

  • Model: Piaget Gouverneur Automatic Calendar
  • Reference: GOA37110
  • Case: 18-carat pink gold case; diameter 43.00 mm; height 9.00 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and back.
  • Functions: Hours; minuntes; seconds; date.
  • Movement: Manufacture Piaget 800P; self-winding; Frequency 21,600 vph; 25 jewels; Power reserve 85 hours.
  • Strap: Brown alligator leather strap with 18-carat pink gold pin buckle.

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