Yves Georges Piaget was born in 1942 at La Côte-aux-Fées (“Fairy [Fées] Slope” in French; “Sheep [Fayes] Slope” in old Neuchâtel dialect], a municipality in the French-speaking canton of Neuchâtel (French: Canton de Neuchâtel; German: Kanton Neuenburg) in western Switzerland. Within the canton, La Côte-aux-Fées is located in the Val-de-Travers District, which is renowned for its clock industry. Only 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the French border, La Côte-aux-Fées nestles on a high plateau at an elevation of 3,412 feet (1,040 meters).
In 1874 at the age of nineteen, Yves' great-grandfather, Georges Édouard Piaget (1855-1931), founded the family business as manufacture d'horlogerie (literally "watchmaking manufacturer"), the “watchmakers’ watchmaker,” with their handmade ébauches (watch movement components). Georges' motto was Faire toujours mieux que nécessaire ("Always do better than necessary"), and so he kept perfecting and inventing thinner components to improve watch movement accuracy.
In 1943 the third of Georges’ seven sons, Timothée (1885-1975), along with his own sons, Gérald (1917-1997), Valentin (1922-), expanded the family business, beyond crafting highest quality watch movements for watchmakers in Geneva and Paris, to include making and selling their own trademarked jewellery watches. With the exception of the steel Upstream (2001) and titanium Polo FortyFive (2009), Piaget watch cases are constructed only of gold or platinum.
Yves, Gérald’s son, received a degree in watchmaking engineering from the University of Neuchâtel (which is unique in offering this horological [Greek: ὥρα, hōrā, "time, season, year" + -λογία, -logía, "study"] program) and a diploma in gemology and gemstone mineralogy from the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) in Los Angeles.
In 1966, at the age of 25, Yves began working in the family business.
With Gérald’s retirement in 1982, Yves succeeded his father as President of the family business in 1982.
In 1988 Piaget International merged with Swiss luxury brand specialists, Vendôme Luxury Group (now known as Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A.). Yves remained for years as President of Piaget International, travelling worldwide as an ambassador for the Piaget brand. In the twenty-first century, now as Chairman of the House of Piaget, this "keeper of the flame," as he refers to himself, conscientiously and energetically continues his extensive ambassadorial peregrinations.
In 2010 Yves Piaget added author to his resplendent horological resume. In collaboration with French poet-writer Jean Orizet (born March 5, 1937), Yves Piaget released his memoirs, Orfèvre du temps: Dialogues avec Jean Orizet ("Goldsmith of Time: Conversations with Jean Orizet").