“Just as diamonds are crystallized records of conditions deep within the earth,” says master watchmaker and jeweler Piaget in its latest release, “meteorites are crystallized records of the birth of galaxies.” Accordingly, one will encounter both prominently in these three new Piaget Altiplano models we preview this week, ahead of their official release next month at SIHH 2019.
The 36mm Altiplano High Jewellery is the first ladies’ Altiplano model set with baguette-cut diamonds on both its bezel and its sunray-finished “Piaget blue” dial. Diamond baguettes serve as the hour indices at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock quarter positions. Piaget blue, which also finds a home on the dial-harmonizing leather strap, is a special shade between cobalt and midnight blue, used notably on the Altiplano anniversary models that anchored Piaget’s 2017 lineup at that year’s SIHH. Inside the white-gold case is Piaget’s manual-wind Caliber 430P, measuring a wafer-like 2.1 mm thick, a descendant of the company’s groundbreaking ultra-thin Caliber 9P. the High Jewellery model will be limited to 88 pieces.
The self-winding Caliber 1203P inhabits the 40mm Altiplano in rose gold, which is distinguished by its gray meteorite dial, crisscrossed on its surface by so-called Widmanstätten patterns, natural elements found in the crystallized nickel-iron hearts of meteorites. Rose gold is also used for the thin, elegant baton hands and applied indices, whose understated style puts the visual focus squarely on the celestially derived surface of the dial. Caliber 1203P, an evolution of the Piaget Caliber 12P from the 1960s, wound by means of an off-center gold micro-rotor, powers the timekeeping and the date display in a window at 3 o’clock. This watch will be limited to 300 pieces.
The most complicated model, the 41mm Altiplano Tourbillon, applies the “Piaget blue” treatment to another meteorite dial, this one encircled by a diamond-set bezel. The time display, with white-gold baton hands and hour appliqués, is relegated to a subdial at 8 o’clock, while a large aperture at 2 o’clock offers a view of the flying tourbillon cage, suspended on a single axis and weighing just 0.2 grams, which also serves as a high-horology running seconds indicator. Piaget’s hand-wound tourbillon Caliber 670P, only 4.6 mm thick, beats inside the round, white-gold case. Representing both of Piaget’s specialties — complicated watchmaking on an ultra-thin platform and highly specialized gem-setting — the Altiplano tourbillon is limited to only 28 pieces. Prices for all three new models (as well as, we’d expect, several others Piaget hasn’t shared with us yet) are expected to be announced at SIHH 2019.