PIAGET Polo 79

The PIAGET Polo 79 is back. Not the modern Polo that Piaget introduced in 2016 as its version of a contemporary sports watch, but the original, sports-chic Polo first released in 1979, which went on to become the quintessential 1980s watch.

This is the Piaget Polo 79, an update of the original Polo. It’s a 38mm brick of yellow gold with a bracelet seamlessly integrated into the case. The Polo’s signature aesthetic is maintained across the case, bracelet, and dial: polished gold gadroons (those horizontal lines) interrupting brushed gold surfaces. The Polo 79 is exactly the type of heritage-inspired release we’ve been asking for from Piaget; a faithful update of the original Polo that brings Yves Piaget’s idea of a “bracelet watch” into the modern era.

The PIAGET Polo 79 smacks you in the face with 18-karat yellow gold, nearly 200 grams of it in the case, bracelet, dial, and hands. At 38mm and 7.35mm, it’s bigger, thicker, and less elegant than the original Polo. But the work and craftsmanship that goes into shaping all that gold is immediately evident. The fit and finish are as impressive as any competitor. The brushed gold bracelet is sharp and fine, contrasting with the polished gadroons and bevels on the bracelet’s edges. It’s an impressive piece of jewelry. The bracelet tapers to a deployant clasp, perfectly hidden so as not to disturb the pattern of gadroons and links.

The Polo 79’s most significant update is the movement. It’s no longer quartz; instead, it uses Piaget’s ultra-thin caliber 1200P1, an automatic micro-rotor caliber measuring 2.35mm. With the Polo 79, Piaget combines perhaps its two most important contributions to watches into one package: elegant bracelet watches and ultra-thin watchmaking.

The dial is simple, an extension of the rest of the Polo: brushed gold and polished gadroons sitting under a flat crystal. “Piaget” stands alone at 12 o’clock, printed in the brand’s traditional font. Like the original, the Polo 79 has just two hands made of brushed gold – no seconds hand necessary.

I’ve made no secret of my love of the original PIAGET Polo 79 (here’s my Collector’s Guide), and the Polo 79 lives up to this legacy. In 1979, Piaget introduced the original Polo ref. 7661 (34mm) and ref. 761 (27mm), powered by the manufacturer’s new ultra-thin quartz caliber 7P. These watches took inspiration from the sports watches that defined the ’70s, but were uniquely Piaget, elegant and extravagant in a way only Piaget was.

The original Polo was gold, thin, and unapologetically quartz when that was the scariest six-letter word in all of Switzerland. While there’s a place for the modern Polo that Piaget introduced in 2016, it’s not The Polo, missing much of the ethos that made it a defining luxury watch of the ’80s and all its unabashed excess.

With the PIAGET Polo 79 , Piaget has recaptured some of that magic. Many have been expecting, or at least, asking for, a reissue of the original Polo. While the Polo 79 might look like the original Polo, wearing it is an entirely different experience. It’s 4mm larger than the original full-size Polo, and thicker and heavier, too. This makes it an absolute brick of yellow gold. It’s not as elegant as the original Polo, and even more lavish. In person, it positively glows.

In a way, the PIAGET Polo 79 is the Polo that always should have been but never was. As I explained in that Collector’s Guide, Piaget made a handful of automatic Polos that are true grails for Piaget collectors today. It was the ultimate fusion of Piaget’s goldsmithing and ultra-thin watchmaking expertise. Now, that fusion will be realized on a bigger scale.

With the larger size, the PIAGET Polo 79 isn’t a watch made for my smaller wrist. As you’ll see in some of the photos here, it looks luscious on larger wrists and I felt a tinge of jealousy for those who could pull it off. I wasn’t able to size the bracelet, which might’ve made for a better fit, but it wears like a heavy, gold cuff. It’s ostentatious and loud in the best way possible. I couldn’t help but laugh and feel the weight in my hand every time I picked up the watch. The bracelet is slightly thinner than the case and doesn’t drape across the wrist the same way a beautiful vintage bracelet might. Still, the articulation of the gadroons and relatively short links makes for a comfortable fit.

One thing that made the original Polo so revolutionary was that it was the same design, for everyone. PIAGET Polo 79 offered a larger and a smaller size, in both a round and square version. Advertisements even touted the Polo as “the ultimate sports watch for him or her.”

I would’ve loved to see Piaget release a mid-size Polo alongside this 38mm version, perhaps at 32mm. I also prefer the vintage rectangular Polo to the round, where the case and bracelet are completely integrated, fulfilling Yves Piaget’s idea that the Polo is a “bracelet watch, not a watch bracelet.” While the round shape might be more recognizable, the rectangular Polo was also much more popular in the ’80s. Many, including myself, hope that a rectangular Polo is around the corner, even if it doesn’t have the same commercial appeal as a round Polo.

It might be tough for any brand, Piaget or otherwise, to top this release in 2024. I hope that the PIAGET Polo 79 is only the beginning of exploring what the Polo can be in 2024. Throughout the ’80s, Piaget offered all kinds of customization options on the Polo, including stone dials, diamonds, and other case materials. Just as the Polo saw massive cultural awareness in the ’80s, it feels like the time is right for it to have a similar moment today.  More broadly, I hope the PIAGET Polo 79 represents a more concerted effort by Piaget to continue pulling forward its rich watchmaking heritage into its modern collection. It has such a singular and unmatched view of what a wristwatch can be, and this is a perspective that shouldn’t be lost.