At the SIHH 2018, Piaget stole the show by smashing the world record for the thinnest mechanical watch after unveiling the Altiplano Ultimate Concept. Naturally, it was no surprise to see such an achievement from Piaget. Over the years, the brand has set numerous world records of thinness with automatic or manual movements. And records are meant to be broken. What surprised everybody was the amazing slenderness of the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept. At just 2mm thick, it beat the 3.6mm height of the previous record holder, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Squelette. A concept watch at the time, the question was whether or not it could make it to the market. Well, the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept is now available as part of a bespoke customization service.
The quest for slenderness
For over 60 years Piaget has tirelessly pursued its quest for slenderness. The manufacture mastery of ultra-thin movements has forged the brand’s identity and reputation since 1957, when Valentin Piaget presented the Calibre 9P, one of the thinnest mechanical movements – at just 2mm. Since then, Piaget has continuously set milestones in the field. In 1960, the 2.3mm micro-rotor Calibre 12P was then the thinnest automatic movement.
With the 2.1mm Calibre 430P developed by Piaget in this millennium, the brand has continued its tradition of crafting elegant dress watches. But the manufacture also invested in developing a series of ultra-thin movements: automatic, skeleton, chronograph or ultra-thin tourbillon. The brand’s supremacy in ultra-thin has been challenged by traditional players in the field such as Audemars Piguet or Vacheron Constantin as well as newcomer Bvlgari and its impressive Octo Finissimo saga. With the presentation of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, Piaget delivered an impressive blow to the competition, a record that will be hard to conquer.
A radical Re-engineering
The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept is a radical redefinition of the architecture of a watch, resulting in the filing of no fewer than five patents. Its absolute slenderness has been achieved by fusing the movement’s mainplate, the case and the bezel into one single component. To ensure sufficient rigidity, it is fashioned out of an ultra-resistant cobalt alloy. All tolerances have been reduced to minimum levels. For instance, the crystal is only 0.2mm thick!
Several wheels rotate on ball bearings, eliminating the need for bridges. The same goes for the balance wheel. It is cantilevered and rotates directly on the caseback via ball bearings. The balance wheel is a mono-bloc construction. The balance staff, the inner ring of the ball-bearing mechanism and the roller form an indivisible part. The hairspring is unusually placed under the balance wheel. The absence of an index assembly is compensated by an adjustable stud. The ball-bearing-mounted mainspring features no cover or drum and is integrated into a recess machined directly into the caseback. Despite the slenderness of the watch, the power reserve of 40 hours is equivalent to that of many standard movements.
The crown has been completely re-engineered. It is flat, telescopic (with its own, specially designed winding tool) and perfectly integrated into the caseband. The traditional sliding pinion clutch and crown wheel are substituted with an ‘infinite screw’. The off-centred dial required the development of a patented ‘’staggered’ stem.
The hours and minutes display is integrated directly into the thickness of the movement: the conventional hour hand is replaced with a revolving indicator disc while the minute hand works in the traditional way. An ultra-thin (1.5mm) alligator leather or textile strap sets the final touch and is fitted with a cobalt-alloy pin buckle.
Bespoke customization service
This Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept is now available for orders. It will, however, remain a rare watch, available in limited quantities in the frame of a bespoke customization service that will allow buyers to select a variety of options, including the colour of the bridge and dial, the finish of the hands and of the mainplate or the strap. Altogether, there are more than 10,000 possible configurations for the Altiplano Ultimate Concept! A software and special presentation set will be available in Piaget boutiques for this purpose.
Retail price starts at CHF 410,000 with the ‘standard’ customization options. For more information, please visit www.piaget.com.