To celebrate its 60th anniversary, French horologists Piaget have launched the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate, the thinnest hand-wound watch in the world. Baroque Access has all the details
Yes, it’s the thinnest hand-wound watch in the world, at just 4.3mm high. It’s also the pride and joy of Piaget, who introduced the first-ever slimmest self-winding watch less than a year ago, at 5.15mm, 0.1mm thinner than Piaget’s previous iteration. Piaget has just outdone itself with this latest addition, the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic.
The timepiece will be released at SIHH 2018, which takes place this month in Geneva from 15 to 18 January. As its name implies, the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate is literally the ultimate when it comes to very slim watches.
So what’s it like, Piaget’s latest masterpiece? Similar to the hand-wound 900P, which was released in 2013 and held the world record for the thinnest mechanical watch for two years, the new Piaget 910P has the same case back to support the movement parts, but it still manages to be thinner than its predecessor at just 4.3mm. The movement’s gears and pivots are mounted directly on the case back – this ensures there is no need for a main plate as found in conventional movements and is the reason for the watch being so thin. There is no movement to be measured, just a very slim watch.
The dial is off-center, positioned on the space between the bridges on the front. The whole gear train occupies the arc that surrounds the dial, thus everything is visible. Some of the wheels, including the additional transmission wheel that is held by a pivot in the chapter ring, measure a mere 0.12mm in height.
Again, like its predecessor, the 900P, the new model has a simplified barrel. So, instead of a bearing at the top and bottom, the barrel is suspended from a single bearing on just one end. Despite this, the watch manages a 50-hour power reserve.
Another reason the watch is so thin is its peripheral winding system; this eliminates the additional height required for a conventional rotor. Instead, the narrow rotor is mounted around the edge of the movement. It incorporates itself around the movement instead of adding to the thickness of the watch. To ensure that it’s easy to wind the watch, it’s made of 22-karat gold and is mounted on ball bearings.
The case is slightly curved so that the dial and hands can be slightly recessed below the surrounding bridges; this protects the hands from coming into contact with the crystal and causing pressure on the crystal.
The diameter of the new Piaget model is 41mm, which compensates for its slimness. The Ultiplano Ultimate 910P is available in 18-karat pink ($39,200) or white gold ($40,800). Both versions have a black alligator strap and matching gold pin buckles.