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As the industry’s leader in super-skinny watches and movements, Piaget consistently punches above its weight, tirelessly pushing the boundaries of the infinitely small via a succession of record thin achievements. This year, it celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano, the collection that’s synonymous with ultra-thin. Considering ultra-thinness to be a true complication, Piaget pursues its never-ending quest to set new records in this category.
We present the top five ultra-thin movements, and their accompanying timepieces.
1. Ultra-Thin Skeleton
Timepiece: Altiplano Skeleton Ultra-Thin
The 2012 Altiplano Skeleton Ultra-Thin holds two world firsts: it is the thinnest automatic skeleton watch at 5.34mm thick, and contains the thinnest automatic skeleton movement, Calibre 1200S, at 2.4mm thick. Highlighting the skills of the house’s artisans in engraving and hollowing without affecting rigidity, resistance or reliability, the finely-finished Calibre 1200S is contained within a 38mm case, representing the harmonious integration between interior and exterior in which Piaget excels. The movement showcases a platinum micro-rotor, a balance bridge with a new symmetrical aesthetic, and an hour wheel bridge that has been reduced to a minimum wall thickness of just 0.11mm.
2. Ultra-Thin Self-Winding
Timepiece: Altiplano with Small Seconds
Marking a half-century since the introduction of Piaget’s iconic Calibre 12P – at one time the world’s thinnest mechanical self-winding movement – Calibres 1200P and 1208P set new limits by becoming the thinnest self-winding movements on the market at merely 2.35mm thick in 2010. They debuted in a new 43mm case that measures only 5.25mm thick, making them the thinnest in their class, thereby breaking a second record. The watches also come with a slender bezel, pure dial, tapering lugs, and beautifully finished calibre featuring circular Cotes de Geneve, bevelled bridges, and sunray-brushed wheels.
3. Ultra-Thin Manual-Winding
Timepiece: Altiplano 38mm 900P
With a record-breaking slimness of 3.65mm, the 145-part Altiplano 38mm 900P is the world’s thinnest mechanical watch, which combines a hand-wound calibre and case to form a whole. The case back is also the main plate, and movement construction was reversed so the bridges appear on the dial side, along with a visible wheel-train. Launched in 2014 to celebrate the house’s 140th anniversary, it pays tribute to Calibre 9P – Piaget’s first extra-flat hand-wound movement from 1957 – which, at just 2mm thick, announced its bright future in ultra-thin horology.
4. Ultra-Thin Flying Tourbillon
Timepiece: Altiplano Tourbillon High Jewellery
The Altiplano Tourbillon High Jewellery from the 60th anniversary collection features a brand-new ultra-thin manufacture movement: the manual-winding Calibre 670P measuring just 4.6mm thick. This is the first tourbillon in the Altiplano family. The offset hours-minutes counter and flying tourbillon with a super-slim and lightweight titanium carriage (2.8mm and 0.2 grams) form a figure eight symbolising eternity on a translucent blue-grey flinque enamel dial, where a sunburst guilloche motif on gold has been coated with several layers of enamel fired each time in an 800-degree celcius oven. In a 38-piece limited edition, the case, lugs, crown and clasp are set with baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds.
5. Ultra-Thin Flyback Chronograph
Timepiece: 41mm Altiplano Chronograph
The 41mm Altiplano Chronograph unveiled in 2015 marked the first time the Altiplano collection accommodated a major complication: a vertically-coupled, column-wheel flyback chronograph. Two years in the making, its case and movement set a double slimness world record, at just 8.24mm for the case and 4.65mm for the movement, Calibre 883P, which is based on the automatic 880P movement that is, itself, one of the thinnest on the market. All components focus on thinness: the cannon pinion (0.12mm), barrel staff (0.115mm), chronograph gear finger (0.06mm), dial, hand fittings and glass fastening.