The seemingly annual competition of watch brands vying to produce the thinnest automatic timepiece on the market received another entrant this morning when Piaget teased its pre-SIHH novelties. The new Altiplano Ultimate Automatic collection — which contains two 41 mm timepieces in 18k white gold and 18k rose gold — is now the current record holder for the world’s thinnest automatic watch coming in at only 4.3 mm thick. The previous brand to hold the record was Bulgari with last year’s much-heralded Octo Finissimo Automatic.
Piaget isn’t new to the ultra-thin segment of the market; in fact, they could be considered trendsetters in this area. The brand has been associated with slim timepieces since Baselworld 1957 when it debuted its manual-winding 9P caliber that measured in at a jaw-dropping 2 mm. In the 1960s, Piaget continued focusing on ultra-thin watchmaking after releasing the 12P caliber that powered the world’s thinnest automatic watch.
The Altiplano Ultimate Automatic collection has been in production for over three years as the brand’s watchmakers, designers, and engineers sought the perfect way to combine the movement and the case into a single entity. You saw this in 2014’s 900P caliber, but it’s been further developed here with the 910P caliber. The case back ends up supporting the entirety of the movement, which was a pretty groundbreaking step when it first appeared three years ago and it remains just as intriguing this time around. Over 200 components make up the 910P movement, with some parts — such as the wheels, which measure in at 0.12 mm — unimaginably thin. Piaget uses a suspended barrel that is supported by moving the bridge from the mainplate (there is no mainplate here) side to the dial side.
As you can see in the above image, the watch’s actual dial is positioned in the upper-right corner, between the bridges on the front while the gear train takes up most of the rest of the visible space. The peripheral winding system cancels out the need for a conventional rotor; instead, we have an extra-thin rotor that runs along the edge of the dial instead of adding an extra layer to the watch. The “rotor” is 22k-gold and coated in black PVD so it has enough inertia to wind the watch.
Finally, if you look closely, both the dial and hands are set underneath the bridges. This is in case there’s any excess pressure on the crystal the bridges can protect the hands from any accidental contact. The 910P movement provides a 50-hour power reserve. The rose gold version is priced at $26,000 and the white gold at $27,000.
When it comes to a timepiece with such an interesting composition, its unique look and fascinating background beg the question of where does the watch ends and the movement begin? Unlike any other timepiece, the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic functions basically as a two-dimensional instrument where all the inner workings are visible. This is a seriously complex wristwatch that breaks down horological barriers and shows that the watchmakers at Piaget are perhaps the industry leaders in the development of ultra-thin timepieces once again.
Piaget also debuted the oval-shaped Extremely Lady timepiece this morning. The 18K rose gold watch has a bezel set with 24 diamonds and features a 56P Piaget quartz movement. It comes on a variety of straps and dial options.