Beta21 -- How Many Piaget?

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

In total 6'000 Beta21 movements were made by C.E.H. and distributed according to a pre-defined share between participants. Now, how many were made for Piaget?

Piagets share of CEH Beta21 development was similar to the share of Patek and so they received as well 400 Beta21 movements -- Piaget called them caliber XP4.

These were almost all cased in the Piaget ref14101 and just a handful of movements found their way into the bolder cushion shaped cases ref15101 (less than 80), which is not only the most iconic 70s watch but also prominent because of its renewal in their actual collection and of course because of its owner Andy Warhol -- the Warhol-Watch.

After these original Beta21-Piagets were made and sold between 1970 and 1972 the still strong demand for these was satisfied by using the Beta22 made by Omega until end of 1970s. While the original Beta21 is usually coming in Piagets three-stepped cases, the later brother housing the Beta22 comes in a five stepped case of similar dimensions.

Some more things make a Beta21 by Piaget stand out: It is the only Beta21 without a second hand. Imagine: The most precise watch movement is developed in a joint venture of major watch brands and Piaget has the chuzpe to case it without the most important way to measure this accuracy. Instead they used beautiful stone dials, often without hour or minute prints. Piaget -- dare to be different!

By the way, the case dimensions and shape was predetermined by the rectangular Beta21 movement and because Piaget wrapped its cases right around it, it was the smallest Beta21 -- especially when compared against giants like the Bucherer or the Patek ref3587. The Piaget approach found some followers as Omega made the ElectroQuartz Beta22s (ref191.0002 & ref191.0003) in similar shape and the Patek Beta22 ref3603 looks similar, too.

The Piaget Beta21 watches share the same destiny as many other solid gold Beta21: the fact they were not considered very beautiful especially at a time when the gold price hit a maximum in the early 80s and they are very heavy and not made by Rolex or Patek Philippe, these were smelted in a bigger portion than many other watches. And that makes a Beta21 Piaget a rare find when you look out for Beta21 -- much rarer than Rolex Beta21 and Patek Beta21.