Thin is (Still) In
Piaget celebrates its iconic Altiplano design 60 years after stunning the watchmaking world
In 1957, Piaget introduced the world to the ultra-thin Altiplano, shocking an industry that thought such watchmaking was unattainable. The collection was named after the highaltitude plateau of the Andes Cordillera mountain range, Altiplano, with its rugged, quietly beautiful terrain reflecting the model’s pure and restrained design. Fast-forward 60 years and the luxury brand is celebrating its iconic model by launching a collection of inspired timepieces.
The original ultra-thin Piaget design was presented at the Basel watch fair in 1957. At a mere 2mm thick with a 20.5mm dial opening, Valentin Piaget’s manually wound timepiece revolutionised the industry with a new aesthetic and demonstrated that precision can be housed in such a slim design. Just three years later, Piaget introduced a self-winding model just 2.3mm thick. The design featured a 24K gold off-centred micro-rotor to ensure optimal barrel spring winding efficiency.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the launch of the ultra-thin design, Piaget declared 2017 the year of the Altiplano—the design that set the company apart from all others. The new collection boasts fabulously elegant timepieces featuring bursts of colours, nods to the original legendary design, flamboyant hard stone dials, and a radiant marriage of technical excellence and artistry.
Perhaps the most striking of the collection are the 34mm and 40mm models featuring vibrant colours. The two smaller models are now available in a rich pink that subtly shifts to a softer shade framed in white gold. The larger models come in slate grey with a white-gold casing, deep blue in pink gold, and a nearly emerald green in a gold casing. The 40mm cases have required the development of a 1203P movement, a progression from the 1205P and 12P movements fans of Piaget have adored for the years.
NEW CLASSICS Piaget is taking the opportunity of this anniversary to introduce two new models—one manually wound, one automatic. The traditional Piaget blue and gold hour markers give both timepieces a vintage feel typical of the line. The 43mm self-winding watch is a mere 2.35mm thick and bears the historical “Piaget Automatique” mention that adorned the very first ultra-thin model. Housed in an 18K white-gold case, the timepiece also features satin brushed steel parts, blued screws, and a gold oscillating weight engraved with the Piaget coat of arms.
TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR Never before has an Altiplano watch featured a tourbillon to counteract the effects of gravity and average out positional errors. This manually wound model is 4.6mm thick but don’t worry—at 0.2 grams, its titanium carriage is nearly weightless. The watch is the result of impressive processes, including a manually crafted guilloche pattern on gold coated in layers of transparent enamel involving three firing phases up to 800˚C. The case is adorned with brilliant-cut diamonds and features bridges circular-grained by hand, as well as hand-bevelled and drawn tourbillon bridges and carriage. It’s easy to see that Piaget’s Altiplano collection respects the roots of the design that set it apart from all other competitors. Sixty years after it was first unveiled, the ultra-thin craftsmanship continues to satisfy connoisseurs and create new appreciation among the generations looking for understated luxury combined with performance.
SLEEK WRIST From left: Brand ambassador Hu Ge wears a 40mm Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary The slightly smaller 38mm model is manually wound, just 2.1mm thick and boasts the reliability that made the 1957 model so popular.
watch with a grey patinated dial; the Anniversary pieces also come in green, blue and pink dials, and in yellow and pink gold cases with appliques that match the precious metal