By Harlan Chapman-Green

The best part about being a watch journalist, apart from actually trying out watches for periods of time, is that there’s always a birthday or celebration of some company’s history that they like to let us know about. But, instead of us giving those companies gifts, they give them to us in the form of anniversary or ‘tribute’ watches. We were delighted to aid Piaget in celebrating the 60th anniversary of their ultra slim Altiplano watches and the ones they have revealed to us are sure to raise more than a few eyebrows out there.

It was in 1957 that the world saw the first Altiplano watch, a watch which made use of a superb movement that measured only 2mm thick, the 9P. The feats of engineering required to make something of that size with only hand drawn designs and no computer aids must’ve made it a mind boggling task, but they pulled it off nicely. Piaget cemented itself as the boss of ultra-thin movements with only Vacheron Constantin providing them with a significant challenge (and challenge them they did). The descendants of the 9P still carry on the legacy with watches like the Altiplano 900P taking the crown as the thinnest watch ever made.

There are two watches in Piaget’s new collection, a 38mm manually wound watch, and a 43mm automatic winding one, there are some subtle differences between them that make then stand out from each other enough. The 38mm watch offers itself as the perfect accomplice to black tie, but it doesn’t really matter whether the suit is from Saville Row or Marks & Spencer (if you live in the UK you’ll probably get this) as the cool blue dial plays down the watch and makes it seem very austere without putting people down. It would be the kind of rich guy who would smile and be cool around those less financially inclined and would be happy to share a drink rather than simply snort and slink back to the corner of haughtiness.

The ultra-thin manual winding movement inside this watch is 2.1mm thick, so only a hair thicker than the legendary 9P from the 50s. This watch features a white gold and blue strap and dial combination with a closed off caseback. It’s also got 43 total hours of power reserve and is limited to 460 watches. The price will be near enough to €17,000.

The larger 43mm version offers a couple of differences. As I have mentioned already, this watch is an automatic winding one. The difference is that you can also see this movement through the caseback, the blacked out rotor makes a pleasing addition to the conservative styling of the decorations of the rest of the movement. Remember that rich cool guy is down for fooling around with the less wealthy friends of his, but he still dresses well and arrives on the scene in a drop-head Bentley.

The 1200P calibre in the watch is 2.35mm thick, which may well make it the thinnest automatic watch on the planet, if not one of them anyway. The sumptuous blue dial also features the word ‘automatic’ inscribed underneath the Piaget name, just to remind you it’s slightly different. This watch has a 44-hour power reserve and is limited to 360 examples worldwide, the pricing will be around €23,000. For more info, please visit piaget.com

You can read our previous article about these watches here.

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