Thin is (Still) In

Pi­aget cel­e­brates its iconic Alti­plano de­sign 60 years af­ter stun­ning the watch­mak­ing world

Hong Kong Tatler - - Tatler Focus | Piaget -

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

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