SIHH 2013: Piaget Altiplano
SIHH 2013: Piaget Altiplano
Perpetuating its heritage as a master of ultra-thin watchmaking since 1957, the Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Piaget presents two exceptional new models at the SIHH 2013. Each sets a double record in its category. The classic and timeless Piaget Altiplano Date model boasts Caliber 1205P, the world’s thinnest automatic movement at just 3 mm thick, housed in a likewise record-breaking 6.36 mm case. Marrying Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie, the Piaget Altiplano automatic gem-set Skeleton watch dazzles with its Caliber 1200D, whose mainplate and functional parts are entirely set with gemstones. It’s a level of expertise exclusively mastered by the Manufacture Piaget, combined with another double ultra-thin record: 3 mm for the movement and 6.10 mm for the case.
Pushing the boundaries of the infinitely small
If there is one thing that never changes at Piaget, it is the tireless determination to constantly push the boundaries of the infinitely small, as can attest the impressive succession of record-thin achievements that have punctuated the history of the Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie for over 50 years. These include the world’s thinnest shaped tourbillon, Caliber 600P; as well as the calibers of which the new 1250P is a direct descendant: the 12P, the world’s thinnest automatic movement ever at the time of its launch in 1960, and subsequently superseded by the 1280P in 2010, and the 1200S, the world’s thinnest automatic skeleton caliber introduced by Piaget in 2012. While developing and producing such ultra-thin calibers entirely in-house is a complex task in its own right, Piaget’s wish to explore uncharted watchmaking territory did not stop at this initial accomplishment. In 2004, the Manufacture developed the skeleton tourbillon movement, Caliber 6005 – naturally the thinnest in the world. The following year, it went even further by directly gem-setting this gold movement to create Caliber 600D. An unprecedented feat, coupled with record-breaking slimness that remains unequalled to date! This is hardly surprising when one recalls that Piaget is the only watch company that completely masters this extremely complex field of expertise, thanks to its two fully-integrated manufactures in La Côte-aux-Fées and Plan-les-Ouates which vividly demonstrate the complementary nature of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie skills.
Piaget Altiplano Date: timeless classicism
A new complication, a new double record for extreme slimness. For the very first time, an Altiplano is equipped with a date display, while also taking its place as the world’s thinnest watch in its category in terms of both the movement and the case. Automatic Caliber 1205P is a mere 3 mm thick, while the case of the new Piaget Altiplano Date measures only 6.36 mm thick.
As the 12th movement specifically dedicated to the Altiplano Collection, Caliber 1205P was developed on the basis of the 1208P presented by Piaget in 2010. Loyal to the signature codes of the latter, it also drives an off-centered small seconds indication, and for the first time displays the date. In addition, it is distinguished from its illustrious predecessor by being fitted inside a slightly smaller 40 mm case – the perfect size to accommodate it. The sapphire crystal case back reveals the full wealth of a movement entirely developed and manufactured in-house by Piaget. No less than 221 parts patiently designed, produced and assembled by hand combine to form an intricate and supremely delicate mechanical composition.
Pure esthetic appeal
The esthetic of the Altiplano Date is governed by a concern to ensure an aura of elegant understatement. The result is a timelessly pure model destined to become an authentic classic capable of finding its way unscathed through passing successive eras. Crafted in various versions of white gold, rose gold or rose gold set with 72 diamonds (approx. 1 ct), the 40 mm case was specially designed to house Caliber 1205P. A movement graced with traditional finishes such as circular Côtes de Genève, a circular-grained mainplate, beveled bridges, sunray-brushed wheels, blued screws, a dedicated index-assembly, as well as a rose gold micro-rotor engraved with the Piaget coat of arms.
The three-level dial carries all the distinguishing features of Piaget’s ultra-thin automatic models. In keeping with the tradition of off-centered indicators, the date display at 9 o’clock strikes a perfect balance with the small seconds at 5 o’clock. Like all automatic Altiplano models, the dial reveals a subtly alternating pattern of single and double hour-markers, as well as discreetly bearing the inscription “Automatic”.
Piaget Altiplano automatic gem-set Skeleton watch: exclusive expertise
As a past master in the ancestral art of skeleton-working, Piaget has developed and created the world’s thinnest skeleton models: Caliber 600S and Caliber 1200S, introduced in 2004 and 2012, respectively. But the display of virtuoso brilliance does not stop there, since the Manufacture took things to the next level in 2005 by gem-setting for the first time not only the various decorative parts and additional plates of a skeleton movement, but also the entire gold mainplate and functional parts. Embodying this expertise that is indeed unique in the world, Caliber 600D presented in 2005 was followed in 2010 by Caliber 838D, prefiguring another stellar embodiment of the watchmaking art now unveiled at the SIHH 2013: Caliber 1200D, the first ever automatic gem-set skeleton movement.
Successor to the already iconic automatic skeleton caliber 1200S with its peerless slenderness, Caliber 1200D is the 34th movement to be entirely developed and produced by the Manufacture in the last 15 years. It is an unprecedented feat blending watchmaking and jewelry know-how, and its extensive two-year development process alone called upon the full range of Piaget’s skills. Mirroring Piaget’s unique mastery, this 3 mm movement representing the thinnest in the world in its category is adorned with 259 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.8 ct) and 11 black sapphire cabochons (approx. 0.2 ct) set within a diameter of 31.9 mm. This exceptional gem-setting requires four days of work to complete just one movement.
Delicate craftsmanship mastered by only a few jewelry artisans
Setting the entire mainplate also requires paving the functional parts – a constant challenge mastered by only a rare few jewelers. An ultra-thin caliber naturally comprises extremely slender parts, such as the jumper-spring cover that measures just 0.69 mm. The Piaget master-jewelers even applied their artistry to concealing the screw threads beneath black sapphire cabochons.
Reflecting the exceptional nature of its movement, the 18K white gold case of the Altiplano automatic gem-set Skeleton movement also called for the exercise of the most sophisticated skills perpetuated within the Manufacture. At just 6.10 mm thick, this case also sets a record for slimness, as well as being adorned with a setting of 40 baguette-cut diamonds (approx. 3.2 ct) on the bezel. Delicately set on the middle, the crown, the lugs and even the sapphire crystal case back, 347 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.4 ct) refine this precious composition, while the strap buckle sparkles with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.06 ct).
The art of Haute Horlogerie decoration
Gem-set bridges that are hand-beveled and drawn out with file strokes; sunray-brushed wheels and black screws echoing the black-coated platinum micro-rotor: the decorations of Caliber 1200D are entirely in harmony with the finest traditions of Haute Horlogerie finishes cultivated by the Manufacture Piaget. This concern for detail is perfectly mastered in order to endow Caliber 1200D with the radiance it so richly deserves.