The very tricky thing about this particular who-came-first controversy is that it plays into some compelling national narrative clichés, but I suspect the reality is somewhat closer to the origin of the quartz watch itself: a good idea occurs at about the same time, to two different people, who pursue it to different lengths (the same thing happened with the theory of Special Relativity, for instance; Einstein put all the pieces together first but both Poincaré and Lorentz were barking up similar trees). Indisputably, in this case, whatever the long and tortuous history of this particular IP in the East and West might be, Seiko got there first with a commercial product by a pretty sizeable margin. However, Piaget’s take is very distinctly different from Seikos (the movement architecture and overall watch design, for one thing; the use of a microrotor for another). Seiko has used Spring Drive as a basis for some very complicated watches indeed, right up to the minute repeater. If this watch from Piaget is the opening salvo in another quiet war for the hearts and minds of watch fans, it should be a very interesting one; Piaget has the capacity to use the tech in 700P for a very wide range of complications as well. It’s an extremely intriguing development as well as an intriguing new watch from Piaget . . . I’m very, very curious to see where it’s going to go next.

The Piaget Emperador Coussin XL with the mechanical/quartz caliber 700P is offered in a white gold, with a 46.5 mm case. Black ADLC coated bezel, generator and micro-rotor surrounded with white gold. Movement, hybrid caliber 700P, self-winding, with 42-hour power reserve; 5.5 mm x 34.90 mm. Hours and minutes with power reserve. Limited edition of 118 pieces; pricing is tentatively set at $70,800.

See the whole Piaget collection at