Watches Wednesday: Piaget's Altiplano Ultimate Concept
3 June 2020

Watches Wednesday: Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept

Piaget has once again made history with their Altiplano Ultimate Concept timepiece, which is the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. First introduced at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2018, the Maison has taken their engineering a step further for Watches and Wonders 2020, by masterfully recreating this timepiece in a new engineered cobalt-based alloy, an extended power reserve to more than 40 hours, on this record-breaking ultra-thin 2mm watch! Yep,  you read that right, it’s as thin as 2 credit cards stacked together!

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Watch 2mm Side Profile

Okay, at this point, you’re probably wondering if the folks at Piaget had to compromise and leave out some elements to make it this thin. … The answer is a firm no – the bezel and crystal, dial, hands, and movement encapsulated in a case and case back – the integral parts of any luxury timepiece, are all intact! How then, is this possible? Well, for the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, Piaget had to create miniature versions which resulted in the filing of 5 patents. They aggressively resized the wheels, which were reduced from the conventional 0.2mm to 0.12mm, and the sapphire crystal which was scaled down from 1mm to a mere 0.2mm. The movement baseplate was also directly machined onto to the case, and the mainspring barrel has no cover or drum, but is instead mounted on a single, ceramic ball-bearing within the frame of the watch, making it possible for the fully-wound movement to run for up to 40 hours!

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Miniaturised Mechanisms

On the exterior, the crown, which is typically circular and three-dimensional, is now a flat, telescopic system with its own specially-deisigned winding tool that fits the flush with the case band. The Maison has also done away with the conventional sliding pinion clutch and crown wheel, and replaced it with a single “infinite screw”. The off-centre dial also made it impossible  for a conventional straight-winding stem, so they created a patented “staggered” stem. The hour hand has also now morphed into a revolving indicator disc.  Oh, and if you’re concerned that this super thin timepiece would be too fragile, fret not, because the dial is beneath the hands, and therefore provides protection from any sort of impact, “tough enough to withstand everything from the level of G-Force experienced in an aerobatic jet to the force of a meteorite crashing to Earth!”  Quite an impossible feat no doubt, but not for Piaget.
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Customised

If you’d like something even more exclusive, well, guess, what, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept is customisable. Whether you’d like to change to colour of the bridge and dial, the finish of the hands,  the main plate, and any coloured straps, there are up to 10,000 possible combinations, so there really is a very low likelihood of someone else having the same timepiece as you do. After all, such a special timepiece should be made uniquely yours, don’t you think? 😉

 

Images courtesy of Piaget