CONSUMPTION: Running on Tony Time

Running on Tony Time

With the specter of recession looming across the U.S., consumers and companies have cut back their spending. Yet Swiss jeweler Piaget, whose motto is "Always do better than is necessary," is betting that the time is ripe for a new round of conspicuous consumption. Later this month Piaget will unveil its $1 million, gem-encrusted Aura watch, a flashy bauble that sports 237 diamonds set in an 18-karat-gold band and case.

The Aura is the crown jewel of 20 hyper-tony Piaget timepieces that will tour 10 U.S. cities. The company has no doubt that shoppers long to see, touch and even buy...

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