Out of a mind-boggling 226 entries, all of them outstanding in some way, the top prizes in 14 categories of watches in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève were announced today.piaget altiplano ultra thin
The top watch among the 84 finalists was the 4.30mm-thick Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic, the world’s thinnest automatic watch. The award recognized the special challenges of ultra-thin watchmaking. Reducing components to tiny tolerances can compromise strength and functionality, but Piaget made it happen by building the movement from the top onto the mainplate. It also serves as the dial plate, by recessing the mainspring barrel under a flying bridge, and fitting the hour and minute hands slightly below the bridges, preventing the crystal from hitting any moving parts in the event of shock. The result is a watch that is needle-thin: a mere 0.12 mm of cobalt separates the movement from the wearer’s skin. “There were some challenges in creating the most unimaginable, unthinkable watch ever,” said Piaget CEO Chabi Nouri, accepting the award. “But our engineers and watchmakers proved that nothing is impossible. This is what happens when crazy ideas become reality. Let’s all keep dreaming, creating and inspiring others in our industry.”
If there’s one watch that perfectly defines the concept of an elegant, ultra-thin dress watch, it is the Piaget Altiplano. Refined, discreet, mechanically interesting and understated, this icon born in 1957 designed by Valentin Piaget has stood the test of time to become one of the definitive “tuxedo” watches.
Although the Piaget Altiplano Skeleton was presented in 2012 we hadn’t had the opportunity of going hands-on with it. So when Piaget recently offered us the chance to review one of their watches, the choice of the model was a no-brainer. One of the watches that best illustrates key Piaget areas of expertise is the Altiplano Skeleton. In particular, the brand’s ability to create uniquely elegant ultra-thin watches or to turn a movement into a miniaturised piece of architecture and art.
Starting with the case, the Piaget Altiplano Skeleton is loyal to the pure, slender lines of the Altiplano. At 38mm in diameter and just 5.34mm in height, its classic design combines a slender bezel, thin straight lugs and a small fluted crown. Despite the ultra-thin profile, it is water-resistant to 30m, which will give you enough peace of mind when wearing the watch on a daily basis – it’s a proper dress watch after all…
By producing a skeleton version of this icon, Piaget did a great job incorporating a contemporary openworked movement to create a clean, modern-looking design, in particular with interesting finishes or harmonious shapes, curves and contrastsAs you can see, the star of the show is the skeletonised automatic movement, the Piaget 1200S calibre, one of the thinnest in the world at just 2.45mm. This in-house movement is an openworked version of the 1200P. Running at 3Hz, this micro-rotor movement stores about 44 hours of autonomy when fully wound. A close look at the movement reveals a sleek contemporary finish and sophisticated uses of materials. The index assembly is signed with the letter P for Piaget. Coloured in pink gold or in black, the platinum oscillating weight is engraved with the Piaget coat of arms. Bevelled and drawn by hand, the bridges and plate are decorated with a satin-brushed sunburst motif. Last but not least, elegant dauphine-style hands display time.Two editions of the Piaget Altiplano Skeleton Ultra-Thin Automatic are available. The first one is a sleek, contemporary and discreet white gold model, with a rhodium-plated movement and contrasting black elements. The second has a more luxurious feel, with its warm pink gold case and a movement coated in black. The Piaget Altiplano skeleton is presented on an alligator leather strap with a pin buckle matching the material of the case. As you would expect, on the wrist, the watch is incredibly comfortable and super enjoyable to wear. With its 38mm diameter and lithe profile, you almost forget it is there. At the same time, it does have a strong wrist presence: its architectural skeleton movement is uniquely elegant. Admittedly, it is sometimes quite difficult to tell the time with to-the-minute precision, but this is often the case for skeleton watches… and there is so much to love in this watch.