In 2018 at Geneva’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), Piaget unveiled a prototype of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, the world’s thinnest hand-wound mechanical watch. In 2020, it was launched in the commercial market. Piaget also won the coveted “Aiguille d’Or” at 2020’s prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) for its Altipano Ultimate Concept.
During the Watches and Wonders 2021 event, Piaget unveiled a special version of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept as a tribute to the Swiss Jura village of La Côte-aux-Fées, where Georges Edouard Piaget founded his eponymous watch company in 1874 and where the design, development and creation of every ultra-thin Piaget movement from the 9P calibre to that of “the thinnest watch in the world” has been carried out.
To create this special edition, Piaget took inspiration from the landscape of La Côte-aux-Fées, the Jura village known for its greenness in spring and summer.
The Altiplano Ultimate Concept, tribute to La Côte-aux-Fées has a bridge, screws, hands and a dial in a deep, forest green and complemented by a matching strap in alligator leather. The highly polished, cobalt alloy case contrasts beautifully with the richness of the green detailing, evoking the feeling of a typical spring or summer’s day in the hills and fields around the village that has been Piaget’s home for almost 150 years. And, as a reminder of that, the main plate is subtly engraved with the year of the company’s founding, 1874.
Each Altiplano Ultimate Concept creation is entrusted to a single watchmaker in the Côte-aux-Fées due to the unique skills required to work on one of the most technically advanced mechanical timepieces of the 21st century. The movement baseplate is machined directly into an ultra-resistant cobalt alloy case which is so thin that 0.12mm separates the movement from the wearer’s skin.
Other parts have been drastically re-sized, with wheels being reduced from a conventional 0.20mm thick to 0.12mm and the sapphire crystal being pared-down by 80 percent to just 0.2mm.
The mainspring barrel 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 allowing a 45 hours power reserve.
The crown, meanwhile, has been re-invented to take the form of a flat, telescopic system (with its own, bespoke 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”.
The dial’s off-centre position, meanwhile, meant that a conventional, straight winding stem could not be used – a problem Piaget solved by the creation of a patented “staggered” stem.
Model: ALTIPLANO ULTIMATE CONCEPT “Tribute to La Côte-aux-Fées”
- Diameter: 41mm/ Thickness: 2.0mm
- Watch made from a cobalt-based high-tech alloy
- Calibre and watch exterior merge as one
- Rectangular-shaped crown recessed in to the case band
- Monobloc bezel integrated into the frame
- 0.2mm thick crystal glass
- Calibre: Piaget 900P-UC
- Power reserve: approx. 45 hours
- Frequency: 28,800vph/ 4Hz
- Number of jewels: 13
- Functions: Hours and Minutes offset at 12 o’ clock
- Finishing: Polished case with green satin-brushed ALD-treated bridge and dial
- Piaget’s founding date 1874 engraved on the mainplate
- Green alligator leather strap with cobalt-alloy pin buckle
- Development time: 6years
- Five patents pending