35 calibers in 10 years, including 23 as ultra-thin amongst which 12 hold a world record. That’s a bit long to write but easy to understand : Piaget is the master ultra-thin calibers and intends to hold this position as long as possible.
Where many brands would have tried to diversify their positioning, Piaget goes only one way : ultra-thin watches. That’s a clear, understandable statement for every one and key to its success. The recent edition of the SIHH proved once again that Piaget won’t go anywhere else when talking about movements, while exploring new ways to enrich its creations through fine jewelry.
Today, Piaget is proud to announce its 13th world record. Which one ? Neither entirely a movement nor exactly a case – or rather both at once: introducing the Piaget Altiplano 38 mm 900P, the world’s thinnest mechanical watch. Merging the hand-wound calibre with the case elements, it is designed as a single entity in order to achieve record-breaking slenderness at just 3.65 mm thin. A great way to celebrate the 140 years of the brand !
SIHH 2014 Piaget – Birth of a extraordinary piece
For a full three years, watchmakers, case constructors and designers worked together at each stage of development, production, adjustment and finishing in order to give life to this watch. Each technical choice had an aesthetic impact, and vice versa. While each of the 145 parts composing the Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P has been trimmed to a size sometimes barely thicker than a hair’s breadth – including some wheels measuring a mere 0.12 mm thin (compared with 0.20 mm on a classic movement) – special care has been devoted to clearances. In other words, the process involved cleverly arranging the components to within the nearest hundredth of a millimetre so as to create optimal play between the fixed and mobile organs, while being careful to ensure that the later move freely and thus guarantee the smooth running of the mechanism.
SIHH 2014 Piaget: At the heart of the world’s thinnest mechanical watch
The secret of this slenderness lies in the structure of the case itself, of which the back also serves as the mainplate. Thereby merging calibre and case, the latter was machined directly from the case-back in order to house the mechanical parts. This architecture meant reversing movement construction so as to fit the bridges on the dial side – an approach that also has an aesthetic effect by keeping them visible.
To save another few millimetres, the mechanism and the hand-fitting system are contained within the thickness of the balance-wheel itself, thus entailing an off-centred display of the hours and minutes. These characteristics are enhanced by the entirely visible wheel-train. Working within this extremely confined space, Piaget has devised a suspended barrel hanging from a single bridge on the dial side, contrary to classic barrels that are also fixed to the mainplate side. This highly unusual device is no way detrimental to the performance of the mechanism, since the Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P has a power reserve of around 48 hours.
SIHH 2014 Piaget – A new jewelry piece – yes, ultra-thin again
Setting a ‘standard’ watch is a demanding art involving a number of constraints. But an ultra-thin watch allows only infinitely small tolerances in preserving the volume of its lines and that of its case.
The extreme thinness of the material thus leaves very little space for setting the stones. The jewellery version of the Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P totalling 4.71 carats sets a new record for slenderness, since it is the world’s thinnest Haute Joaillerie watch at just 5.65 mm thick. On this model, not less than 304 diamonds are set on the watch.
SIHH 2014 Piaget – Photo Report
More resources about SIHH 2014 Piaget on the Official Piaget Website.