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Piaget - Altiplano Ultimate Concept

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept

The thinnest mechanical watch you can have.

Piaget stole the show at the 2018 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie with the unveiling of the remarkable Altiplano Ultimate Concept - the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. Measuring a gossamer 2mm, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept served as a stage for numerous Piaget innovations, including a case that formed part of the movement, a unique, integrated winding crown, an ultra-thin crystal and, more importantly, new constructions for the barrel and energy regulation. Thanks to this evolution, the power reserve of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept extended to more than 40 hours, a benchmark in the canon of ultra-thin watches…

Altiplano Ultimate Concept

Altiplano Ultimate Concept © Piaget

From Drawing Board to Your Wrist 

The Altiplano Ultimate Concept was developed and produced entirely in-house by Piaget's dedicated Research and Innovation division. The team worked solely on the prototype for four years - during which time many of the established codes of watch making were re-invented - and spent a further two years perfecting the design and engineering in order to bring the watch to your wrist. To reach the goal of creating a watch just 2mm thick – a remarkable feat which established a new world record - the team had to abandon conventional thinking. 

Altiplano Ultimate Concept

Altiplano Ultimate Concept © Piaget

Classical design dictates a standard four-layers construction: bezel and crystal; dial, hands and movement encapsulated in a case and case back. With such specific engineering, the traditional movement mainplate disappeared, the case back being used both as part of the case and the movement mainplate, directly carved from one single block of gold. In 2018, Piaget pushed the concept even further by launching the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic which, at just 4.3mm thick, became the world’s thinnest gold watch. 

With the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, the only option was to go one step further. Piaget embarked on a journey of unprecedented miniaturisation that resulted in the filing of no fewer than five patents, the process beginning with the creation of a case for the watch into which the movement baseplate is directly machined. Too thin to use gold, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept case had to be made from a new, cobaltbased alloy that is highly resistant, 2.3 times stronger than gold and, therefore, much more difficult to machine. Other parts were entirely re-engineered and re-sized, with wheels, for example, being reduced from a conventional 0.20mm thick to 0.12mm and the sapphire crystal, normally 1mm thick in a standard watch, being pared-down by 80 per cent to a scarcely believable 0.2mm. The mainspring barrel (the source of power that drives the mechanism) is also of an entirely new design that has no cover or drum but is mounted on a single, ceramic ball-bearing within the frame of the watch and enables the fully-wound movement to run for up to 40 hours. 

Altiplano Ultimate Concept

Altiplano Ultimate Concept © Piaget

The crown, meanwhile, has been re-invented to take the form of a flat, telescopic system (with its own, specially-designed winding tool) that fits flush with the case band and in which the conventional sliding pinion clutch and crown wheel are substituted for a single, 'infinite screw'. Such a construction offers the great advantage of perfectly protecting the crown, and therefore the movement, from unwanted shock. The dial's off-centre position, meanwhile, meant that a conventional, straight winding stem could not be used - a problem Piaget solved by creating a patented 'staggered' stem. In order for the system to function perfectly, the conventional hour hand is replaced with a revolving indicator disc while the minute hand works in the usual way.

 

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One hundred and forty years’ worth of uninterrupted history have allowed Piaget to forge its unique jewellery and watchmaking expertise. The Brand is a genuine Fine Watchmaking manufacture that brings together the art of ultraflat technology and the finest jewel-setting, characterised by its undyingly elegant and refined aesthetics.

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