“Standing the test of time” implies enduring quality. “You can set your watch by it” suggests reliability and consistency. These well-honored adages of the English language worked their way into our vocabulary on the highly regarded reputation of Swiss watchmaking. Recognized as an authority on the craft of watchmaking, Henry F. Piaget holds a prominent place in both Swiss and American manufacturing. Today the Piaget brand is widely held as some of the best craftsmanship in the world.
Mass-produced goods versus time-honored, handcrafted piecework became a topic of great concern in the watch industry of Piaget’s time. With the advent of mechanization, watches were mass-produced in America at cheaper prices, opening up a middle-class market for a cookie cutter product. However, the Swiss stood by their exacting workmanship, thereby creating a great rivalry and competition for the American watchmaking market.
As a native of Switzerland and an American citizen, this expert craftsman felt uniquely positioned to weigh in on the merits and deficiencies of both. He offers his professional and unbiased insight in The Watch: Hand Work Versus Machinery.
About the Author
Henry F. Piaget was born near Neufchatel, Switzerland, in 1804. After a brief sojourn to England, where he married the former Ann Sophia Rogers, Piaget settled in Brooklyn during the 1830s and worked as a watchmaker. Due to failing health, he moved his family to a farm in Great Notch, New York, in 1838, where he later became proprietor of the Great Notch Inn. Six of the Piaget’s seven children survived to adulthood, with son Louis later becoming a leading jeweler and watchmaker. Henry F. Piaget died July 1, 1883, at the age of seventy-nine. His widow, Ann, died April 14, 1890, at the age of eighty-six.
Hand Work Versus Machinery
By Henry F. Piaget
64 pp. 5 x 7 5 b/w illus.