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What’s the time, Mr Warhol?

Well-executed remakes are more the exception than the rule, adding weight to the classic ‘if it ain’t broke’ cliché. But the elegant ‘Black Tie’ from Piaget is most certainly a success story, taking the lead from a 1970s classic that found favour with Andy Warhol…

Warhol was famous for bringing everyday objects such as bananas, Coke cans and bean tins into the focal field of his works. But when he wasn’t glamorising daily objects, the pop art poster boy was known to indulge in the finer things in life. He treated watches as fashion pieces rather than practical timekeepers. Indeed, he once said of his Cartier Tank: “I don’t wear a Tank to tell the time. In fact I never wind it. I wear a Tank because it’s the watch to wear.” He was also known to sport a rose gold 1940s Rolex – fitted with his own custom strap – and a Piaget.

What would Warhol wear?

Warhol’s favoured Piaget was fitted with the slim Quarzwerk Beta 21 movement – the same used in the early 1970s by Patek Philippe, IWC and several others. The oval shaped case with its ‘stepped’ edges very much represented the style of the decade and, as such, was offered by Piaget in many different variants. At last week’s Geneva Watch Salon (SIHH), the Swiss brand revealed the latest model in the form of a gentleman’s formal dress watch: the Black Tie Vintage Inspiration. Beyond some subtle styling tweaks, the Beta 21 movement has been replaced with an even slimmer automatic calibre 534P.

As a result, the Black Tie Vintage Inspiration fits the profile of a ‘dress watch’ superbly, and the infinite-depth Onyx Black dial and white gold case will also prove to be a conversation starter without being overtly noticeable. Provided you’re able to secure one of the 28 to be produced, that is.

Photos: Piaget

You can find thousands of classic watches for sale (including several Piagets) in the Classic Driver Market.