Heritage Piece: Piaget Pays Tribute To Its Swiss Roots With The Thinnest Watch In The World - Lookbook

At Watches and Wonders 2021, the watchmaker introduced a Altiplano Ultimate Concept that honors the village where it was born.

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Last November, Piaget was recognized for creating the world’s thinnest mechanical timepiece when the Altiplano Ultimate Concept scooped the coveted “Aiguille d’Or” at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG).

Decades-long journey

The GPHG’s top prize rewarded Piaget’s efforts in overcoming the difficulties in creating a luxury watch that is just 2mm thick. The Swiss’s path to ultra-thinness began in 1957 with the famous 9P caliber. At the time, it was among the thinnest hand-wound movements in existence.

Three years later, the 12P calibre followed, which was then the thinnest self-winding movement in the world. Throughout the next half-century, the luxury house would set records in thinness for skeleton, diamond-set skeleton, date, automatic and manual winding chronograph watches.

In 2018, Piaget introduced the prototype of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept at Geneva’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), a watch that became available last year.

Verdant landscape

At the recent Watches and Wonders 2021, a special version of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept that is inspired by La Côte-aux-Fées. The Swiss Jura village is where Georges Edouard Piaget founded his eponymous company in 1874. This is where the design, development, and creation of every ultra-thin Piaget movement has been carried out.

One of the most striking features of the region, and of La Côte-aux-Fées in particular, is its overwhelming verdant landscape during spring and summer.

La Côte-aux-Fées is in the Jura region of Switzerland, which is famous for its sprawling green landscape / Photo by Artiom Vallat on Unsplash

This lushness is seen in the new version of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, which has a bridge, screws, hands and a dial in a deep, forest green. Its polished cobalt alloy case is also contrasted with a matching strap in alligator leather. The year of the company’s founding is engraved on the main plate.  

Thin innovation

The movement baseplate is machined directly into the case, which is so thin that 0.12mm separates the movement from the wearer’s skin. Other parts have been resized, with wheels being reduced from 0.20mm thick to 0.12mm and the sapphire crystal being pared-down by 80 per cent to just 0.2mm.

The mainspring barrel is also of an entirely new design that has no cover or drum but is mounted on a single, ceramic ball-bearing within the frame of the watch allowing a 45 hours power reserve.

The crown, meanwhile, has been reinvented to take the form of a flat, telescopic system with its own, bespoke winding tool. This fits flush with the case band and in which the conventional sliding pinion clutch and crown wheel are substituted for a single, “infinite screw.”

The dial’s off-center position, meanwhile, prohibited the use of a conventional, straight winding stem. Piaget resolved this by creating and patenting a “staggered” stem.

For more information, visit Piaget.com.

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