Piaget is keeping the flame of ultra-thin watchmaking very much alive. For Watches & Wonders Shanghai 2023, the Maison, which laid the aesthetic and technical foundations for ultra-thin watches, Piaget unveiled a new version of a mechanical watch that is an astonishing 2 mm thick, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept.
With its captivating dark blue colour scheme, this new Altiplano Ultimate Concept showcases an even more pared-back design and a more marked celebration of the Maison’s signature colour. This version is a first for Piaget, as previous hours and minutes Altiplano Ultimate Concept models were designed upon request and personalised for a handful of customers: the happy few.
At Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, Piaget presented a stunning emerald-green version of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, alongside a blue version of the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P with a rose-gold case, a piece only 4.30 mm thick. These two new models emphasised the continuing strength and relevance of ultra-thin watchmaking at Piaget, as well as another of Maison’s deep-rooted legacies — the art of playing with colour.
Piaget presents these dazzlingly thin pieces as embodiments of the Maison’s living heritage. These are the most recent pieces in a long line of watches whose curves have grown slimmer and slimmer, achieving the seemingly impossible. Their pared-back appearance elegantly conceals the hard work required to overcome obstacles posed by materials, one millimetre at a time.
Before it was even a Maison, Piaget designed many different components for the biggest names in Swiss watchmaking. Ever since it was founded in 1874 by Georges-Édouard Piaget, the company has focused on creating lever escapements, the most delicate regulating system for watches. In the 1920s, a second speciality emerged from this meticulous approach to manufacturing: the ability to design, create and finish pocket watch movements that were groundbreakingly thin, measuring as little as 2.4 mm.
To achieve this, the founding Piaget family embarked on a visionary journey, years ahead of the rest of the industry: the integration of all watchmaking processes. Their aim was to completely master the complex skills required to specialise in ultra-thin watchmaking. Springing from a mindset of unity, this single workplace, now known as the Manufacture, is rooted in the family’s home village, La Côte-aux-Fées.
In 1998, Piaget invented a unique signature for its ultra-thin creations, which, since the 1960s, had only been referred to by their style. The name Altiplano was officially created. This title conveys a sense of height, of flat smooth surfaces, of stripped-down style, perfectly matching these discreetly refined, ultra-thin watches. In this field, Piaget continues to push boundaries, reaching dizzying, seemingly impossible heights.
An exceptional feat: even at 2 mm thick, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept is waterproof to a depth of 20 metres and equipped with a traditional crown. Its first working prototype took seven years to develop; two more were required for it to meet Piaget’s rigorous reliability standards. Its case is made from a special torsion-resistant cobalt alloy, which makes it 25% thinner than precious metal cases.