Piaget - Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P
Three years after the launch of the Altiplano 38 mm 900P Ref. G0A39111, the slimmest manual-winding watch in the world at that time, Piaget is presenting the world’s slimmest self-winding watch, at a mere 4.30 mm thick.
The quest for slenderness began in the late 1940s and achieved a pivotal step in 1957 with the launch of the manual-winding 9P calibre, one of the world’s thinnest movements of its kind at the time, measuring just 2 mm thick.
At just 2.3 mm thick, the 12P calibre presented at the 1960s Basel Fair was another landmark event in watchmaking history as the world’s thinnest automatic watch. This degree of slimness was made possible by the use of a 24-carat gold micro-rotor integrated within the movement so as to ensure efficient mainspring winding.
Pursuing the year 2017 celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of its Altiplano line and of its ultra-thin 9P movement, Piaget unveils the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P, a timepiece where movement and case form a single entity, with the latter serving as a mainplate to which the 219 incredibly thin components are affixed.
Pared down to extremes, some of the parts are barely thicker than a hair’s breadth, including certain wheels measuring just 0.12 mm thick (compared with 0.20 mm on a traditional movement). This highly complex architecture has led to a reversed movement construction, with the bridges and the the going train fitted on the dial side – an approach that contributes to the aesthetic of the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic, since they are now visible through the front of the 41 mm white gold case.
To save these precious tenths of a millimetre, the entire mechanism and hand-fitting is contained within the thickness of the balance wheel, thus entailing an off-centred display of the hours and minutes that is entirely in tune with the design codes of the Altiplano line.
Working within these extremely small confines, Piaget opted for a suspended barrel, held by a single bridge on the dial side, contrary to customary barrels that are also fixed on the mainplate side. The Altiplano Ultimate Automatic guarantees a 50-hour power reserve.
The oscillating weight in 22K gold with black PVD coating is positioned on the movement periphery so as to be incorporated into its thickness and thus contribute to the overall slimness. The choice of gold for this technical component is essential as it allows a perfect machining, and it endows the oscillating weight with a weight, an inertia and a robustness guaranteeing excellent winding performance.
Even the hours and minutes are integrated within the thickness of the calibre, whereas they tend to be placed on top in standard constructions. A patent has been filed for this major breakthrough aimed at enhancing reliability. When a watch is subjected to strong pressure, its glass is slightly distorted. While this physical phenomenon goes relatively unnoticed on a traditional timepiece, things are very different with an ultrathin watch. Given the fact that spaces are reduced to an absolute minimum, the glass would tend to press against the hands when thus distorted, causing the movement to stop. By fitting the hands below the bridges, Piaget thus frees up space between the cannon-pinion and the glass. If the latter is distorted due to pressure, it no longer pushes on the hands, but instead on the gear-train bridge and thus has no effect on the smooth running of the movement.
Machined in the actual watch case, the mainplate has been satin-brushed and sandblasted, while the wheels are alternately sunburst- or circular satin-finished. Hollowed out so as to afford an even better view of the mechanisms, the chamfered bridges are sunburst satin-brushed.
Completed by a black alligator leather strap, the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P (ref. G0A43121) has a price of around Euro 24,000 / US$ 26,000 in pink gold and Euro 24,900 / US$ 27,000 in white gold. piaget.com