A wise eye is seldom fooled merely by the sight of a pretty face. Angus Davies, on his Escapement blog, examines the Piaget Altiplano Double Jeu watch and finds many virtues behind its comely appearance.
With advancing years, many adults acquire a skill to see beyond the superficiality of a pretty face. The idiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover” could easily apply to the merit of individuals. As my children become older and look ready to leave the family nest, I hope they are able to discern between individuals who warrant their friendship and those best avoided. A veneer of beauty is omnipresent, it is only by honing a discerning eye, that the meritorious can be distinguished from the vacuous or devious.
Like many individuals, I am drawn to a pretty face, but accompany this with an air of skepticism, choosing to investigate, probe and inquire in order to establish the full story. Some time ago, I happened upon the comely appearance of the Piaget Altiplano Double Jeu watch and more recently, I spent a couple of days touring the brand’s facilities, where I was able to examine the watch more closely. I discovered a plethora of attributes behind the handsome lines of its pretty face.
All is not quite as it appears
The Altiplano Double Jeu watch is not quite what it appears. Typically, the Altiplano models are ultra-thin, with the recently launched 900P Altiplano measuring an incredible 3.65mm in height. The Altiplano Double Jeu watch is much thicker, measuring 11.7mm in height, however, there is clear justification for its greater scale.
The case of the Altiplano Double Jeu watch is hinged. Once opened, the inside reveals another dial within. While being two-faced is often an undesirable characteristic, in this instance it’s an attribute that delivers a welcome charm and added functionality.
Two dials, two movements
The upper silver hued dial imparts hours and minutes using two slender black hands. The hours are denoted with a series of fine black indexes. Each even hour is indicated with double indexes. Between 9 and 10 o’clock, a small seconds display resides, framed in a circlet of pink gold. The asymmetric positioning of the small seconds display delivers a delightful charm to proceedings.
Opening the watch, a sapphire crystal reveals the calibre 838P powering the upper dial functions. The slender movement measures only 2.5mm in height. However, despite its svelte profile the specification shows no obvious omissions. The bridges are adorned with circular Côtes de Genève motif with beautiful bevelled edges. The main plate is decorated with circular graining. Blued screws, screwed balance and the brand’s coat of arms are expertly engraved on the movement completing the impressive, no-compromise specification. The calibre 838P is also impressive for its prodigious power reserve of 60 hours, especially notable bearing in mind the shallow height of the movement. Inside the watch, a second dial is revealed. Similar in style to the first dial, it delivers time using a 24-hour display, proving ideal for conveying the home time when working away on business. Arabic numerals are used to mark each 3-hour integer. The hour and minute hands are presented in a pink gold shade.
The second dial is powered by an additional, independent movement, the calibre 832P. The caseback is solid, preventing close examination of the movement. However, based on my observations whilst touring Piaget, I have no reason to suspect this movement will be anything less than exceptional.
Two crowns grace the case band, one positioned on each half of the watch. The crown at 2 o’clock serves the upper dial, while the crown at 4 o’clock relates to the lower dial and movement.
Like an interesting book
The upper half of the Altiplano Double Jeu watch is released by pressing a push piece at 3 o’clock. It reminds me of opening an interesting book with the 838P revealed on the left hand page and the 24-hour display of the second dial located on the right hand page. I found myself marveling at the ingenuity of the design and the exacting attention to detail.
The watch delivered a comfortable fit and there was no obvious diminishment to the clean lines despite there being much detail recorded on the inner pages.
It is by knowing the capabilities of Piaget that I can now fully comprehend the virtue behind the attractive face of Altiplano Double Jeu watch and appreciate its many qualities. Indeed, the Altiplano Double Jeu watch is more than a pretty face, containing two finely finished movements and the additional functionality of a second dial.
- Model: Piaget Altiplano Double Jeu watch
- Ref: GOA35153
- Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 43mm; height 11.7mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback of upper dial, solid case back on lower dial.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; 24-hour dial display (lower dial)
- Movement: Calibre 838P; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 19 jewels; power reserve approximately 60 hours; 131 components. Also Calibre 832P for 24-hour display.
- Strap: Brown alligator leather strap supplied on a gold folding clasp.
- Price: £30,000 (RRP as at 26.11.2014)
There’s a few things about this watch that don’t make sense.
First, what use is a seconds indicator with such a prominent design, that lacks the ability to precisely indicate the second? It may be my OCD though, but either give me precision to the second, or remove the thing altogether.
Secondly, what’s with the ugly hinge? Invisible hinges are not uncommon, and they are far more elegant, even if more complicated. See the Patek 5227, or Dupont or Cartier lighters.
Thirdly, two mechanisms for the functionality equivalent to a GMT display? There’s smarter ways to achieve the same functionality – see the Reverso Duo.
All in all this watch doesn’t make much sense. Two mechanisms, and no date either? Bah.