Piaget, ultra-thin master with Altiplano 900P
Piaget, the Swiss haute horlogerie and Joaillerie maker, upholding its persistence in traditional high-end watch making and the endless quest in renewing the established crafts, is determined to break the records of ultra-thin watches. Since the founder Georges Édouard Piaget first set his feet in the watch industry in 1874 as a small workshop in the Swiss part of the Jura, Piaget has decades later becoming an inimitable signature and pioneer in fine ultra-thin watch making.
Faithful to its pioneering spirit, Piaget began to design and build the ultra-thin movements that were to become one of the company’s “signatures”, making an enduring impression on the watchmaking world. In 1957, the Manufacture introduced the famous ultra-thin hand-wound movement 9P, which was only 2 mm thick. In 1960, Piaget launched the movement 12P, which holds the recorder of the world’s thinnest automatic movement till now, measured merely 2.3 mm thick. 2014, in order to set a milestone for the brand’s 140th anniversary, Piaget has launched the world’s thinnest watch – the Altiplano 900P watch – as the testimony to Piaget’s motto: “Always do better than necessary.”
To celebrate and elaborate Piaget’s 140-year of devotion in ultra-thin watch making, Piaget holds an exhibition named “Piaget, 140 years of expertise in ultra-thin watch making” in the Metroplaza, Taipei 101 shopping mall. The legendary 9P, 12P movements, antique ultra-thin watches along with the classic Altiplano collection, and the ultra-thin complications, all flew in from their birth place, Switzerland, to Taipei. The latest innovation, the Altiplano 900P watch, which breaks the world’s thinnest record with a thickness of 3.65 mm, also made its debut in Taiwan. The “Piaget, 140 years of expertise in ultra-thin watch making” exhibition is a genuine time tunnel formed with Piaget’s 140 years of success and achievements in craftsmanship and creativity.
The root of ultra-thin
In 1874, Georges Édouard Piaget sketched the first stoke of Piaget’s expertise by founding a movement workshop which aimed at manufacturing movements with high precision at La Côte-aux-Fées, Swiss Jura. His enthusiasm had gradually led Piaget to success and soon Piaget’s fame spread far beyond the crests of the mountains around Neuchâtel, increased by demand from those who already recognized his signature on a movement as a mark of seldom-equaled expertise. The Piaget family registered the brand in 1943 as the prolegomena to a legendary story. Piaget flipped into the first significant chapter in 1957, the Manufacture introduced the famous ultra-thin hand-wound Caliber 9P, which was only 2 mm thick. The climax came swift in 1960, Piaget launched the Caliber 12P, the world’s thinnest automatic movement. Piaget skillfully adopted the technique of off-centered oscillating weight to accomplish a slim automatic movement which measured just 2.3 mm thick. The ultra-thin recorder is still unbreakable till now.
Ultra-Slimness lies in Piaget’s DNA. For over half a century, Piaget indulged itself in designing and manufacturing ultra-thin movements. Within Piaget’s 37 in-house movements, 25 of them are ultra-thin calibers that fixed 14 world recorders.
“The Piaget, 140 years of expertise in ultra-thin watch making” exhibition has its exhibition hall divided into four areas: Zone 1, “The Beginning of Ultra-thin”, starts with the legendary 9P and 12P calibers, along with antique watches, to declare Piaget’s fundamental root in ultra-thin development; Zone 2, “Benchmark of Ultra-thin”, showcases a series of world-record-breaking Altiplano to state Piaget’s technical depth, while Zone 3, “Pinnacle of Ultra-thin”, unfolding a series of complications like tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar and chronograph that adhere to the strict code and law of ultra-thin. Among these masterpieces, the Tourbillon Relatif launched in 2006 had pushed the high-end watchmaking to the extreme and crowned Piaget with the laurel of ultra-thin mastery. The last zone, “Refined Essence of Ultra-thin”, introduces Piaget’s latest milestone, the Altiplano 900P. With an approach that breaks the technical boundaries and a style far beyond imagination, the 38 mm Altiplano 900P watch fuses a manual winding mechanism with a watch case of external finishing to achieve a world-record breaking slimness, at only 3.65 mm thick.
This brand new innovation testifies the sheer excellence in watchmaking aesthetics. For Piaget has to play the magic within this very confined space, the platinum case back was machine-tooled to accommodate the mechanical components, and revolutionarily designed a suspended barrel that was attached to a single bridge on the dial side. Furthermore, instead of fitting the hands above the bridges, Piaget has placed them underneath, thereby freeing up space between the cannon-pinion and the crystal to avoid the effect of pressure. This unusual but practical device bestowed ultra-slimness, reliability, precision, water-proof, and a generous power reserve of 48 hours! This major breakthrough in promoting reliability is under a patent pending.
Altiplano 900P watch has powerfully and rightfully set an unbreakable benchmark for the Swiss fine watch making industry.