In a digital world where the time of day is displayed on the face of a cell phone or the corner of a
computer screen, the very act of wearing a watch may be slowly going the way of
the dinosaur. Although watches are far from becoming artifacts, the industry has
come a long way from its fifteenth- and sixteenth-century beginnings. But if
you're looking for precision in the art of making timepieces, look no farther
than to the Swiss. Henry F. Piaget holds a prominent place in Swiss/American
watchmaking. Today the Piaget brand is widely held as some of the best
craftsmanship in the world.
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.
So strongly did Piaget feel about watchmaking that he
weighed in on the controversy between the superiority of hand-worked time pieces
versus the machine-made models. The result is an 1877 published work titled
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.