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Gerald Piaget, watch company co-founder, dead at age 79

April 17, 1997

LA COTE-AUX-FEES, Switzerland (AP) _ Gerald Piaget, co-founder of the Piaget watchmaking company famed for its ultrathin timepieces, has died, a company spokesman said today. He was 79.

The funeral took place Monday for Piaget, who died two days earlier at Areuse, Switzerland. No cause of death was disclosed.

Piaget, three brothers and their father joined in 1942 in starting a watchmaking facility at La Cote-aux-Fees, 50 miles from Geneva. Building on a family tradition of making watch parts in the winter and farming in the summer, they produced the first watch bearing their name in 1948.

The company achieved particular success in North America with its high-priced, slim watches for women, with cases made only of gold or platinum.

The company’s thinnest watch, introduced in 1957, was 2 millimeters _ 0.1 inches _ thick. Its thinnest quartz watch, first made in 1976, was only 15 percent thicker.

The firm was acquired by the Vendome Luxury Group in the 1980s.

Gerald Piaget is survived by two sons and four grandchildren.

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