Despite the general climate of gloom and doom, Piaget has ended the year with a very important trophy under its arm. Last month, at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève awards ceremony, Piaget took home the big prize (Aiguille d’Or) for its impressive Altiplano Ultimate Concept, the world’s thinnest mechanical watch. But there have also been rich pickings for women at Piaget in 2020, with high voltage jewellery models in the Limelight Gala collection, a 32mm Limelight Gala model with a much-awaited automatic movement, as well as beautiful blue lacquer dials for the unisex, ultra-thin 38mm classic Altiplano. To round off 2020, Piaget also launched a smaller, more refined 38mm version of the Altiplano Tourbillon presented in a limited edition of 88 watches. And we take a closer look at it.
Thin and Elegant
Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, once said “You can never be too rich or too thin” two qualities she cultivated in abundance during her glamorous life. Piaget also understands the elegance of a slim profile and has cultivated the art of ultra-thin movements since the 1950s. Piaget’s manual-winding calibre 9P of 1957 was acclaimed for its thin 2mm profile and outstanding performance. Just three years later, Piaget unveiled the calibre 12P, the world’s thinnest automatic movement with micro-rotor measuring just 2.3mm in height which paved the way for Piaget’s trajectory as a purveyor of ultra-thin elegant dress watches for both men and women.
Alongside ultra-thin dress watches, Piaget is also renowned as a jeweller and in 1959 showcased its first high jewellery creations at the ‘Salon Piaget’ of Geneva. The tradition is very much alive today in the brand’s Geneva atelier where high jewellery collections and high jewellery watches come to life with sparkling gemstones and extraordinarily supple gold bracelets.
Piaget’s Altiplano Flying Tourbillon made its whirlwind appearance on the scene in 2017, the dazzling combination of an ultra-thin movement with the spectacle of a flying tourbillon. Revisited with a gorgeous meteorite dial in 2019, the Altiplano Tourbillon features an eccentric layout with the hours and minutes at 8 o’clock and the flying tourbillon at 2 o’clock. The manual-winding 670P calibre, with its 157 ultra-thin and ultra-light components, some measuring no more than the thickness of a human hair, ensures that the movement retains a height of just 4.6mm and the case a 7.4mm profile.
The only problem with the Altiplano Tourbillon was its size. With its large 41mm diameter, the Altiplano Tourbillon was not really a watch for the smaller wrists. Today the Altiplano Tourbillon comes in a new 38mm diameter (height 7.35mm), a size that works well on women’s wrists. Incidentally, the 41mm diameter Altiplano Tourbillon is very much a part of the collection and has been revisited with a blue lacquered dial.
38mm Altiplano Tourbillon
The 18k rose gold case displays the clean, simple lines of the Altiplano family with straight lugs and a relatively small crown. The bezel glows with the radiance of 64 brilliant-cut diamonds, and the dial is made from white mother-of-pearl. The natural iridescence of mother-of-pearl is accentuated with the dynamic engraved guilloché pleats on the dial that emanate from the hours and minutes counter at 8 o’clock. Almost like a fan-made from mother-of-pearl, the refined pleats grow in size as they spread across the dial and embrace the tourbillon aperture at 2 o’clock. If you look again, you’ll notice how the hours and minutes and tourbillon create a figure 8, a symbol of luck and infinity in Asian culture.
The discreet baton indices on the hours and minutes counter are picked out in a grey colour while the hands are rose gold-coloured to match the case, just like the frame of the tourbillon. An additional 24 brilliant-cut diamonds are set in the folding clasp of the elegant grey alligator strap accompanying this model.
Beneath the sapphire crystal caseback is Piaget’s ultra-thin manual-winding 670P tourbillon movement measuring 30.6mm in diameter and with a height of just 4.6mm (same movement as the 41mm Altiplano Tourbillon). Beating at a frequency of 21,600vph, the movement offers a power reserve of 48 hours.
Finishings like the circular graining on the mainplate, the hand-bevelled bridges decorated with Côtes de Genève, the sunburst-brushed wheels, the black screws and the hand-bevelled tourbillon carriage attest to the extraordinary care invested in the movement.
Availability and price
The Piaget Altiplano Tourbillon 38mm Limited Edition (ref. G0A45030) will be produced in 88 individually numbered timepieces and retails for CHF 114,000.
More information at Piaget.