By Harlan Chapman-Green

There are only a few companies which successfully make ultra-thin watches. Vacheron Constantin does it, Jaeger-LeCoultre does it, and even Bulgari does it as well with complicated and simple watches. However, the undisputed king of ultra-slimline wristwatches is Piaget, and it’s not a new player in this territory. The Altiplano 900P was when released in 2014, the slimmest watch ever made, and it was 3.65mm thick. Now, Piaget has managed to halve that figure, as the Altiplano Ultimate Concept is a record-breaking 2mm in thickness.

Innovations

To achieve this awe-inspiring dimension, Piaget had to go to levels never seen before in watchmaking. Just like we saw in the 900P, Piaget used the caseback of the watch as the baseplate of the movement. The most significant factor of a watch’s thickness at this level is the balance cock, which Piaget has cut off altogether. In its place is a ball bearing system which the company built into the caseback. Because of the new system, the hairspring is now below the balance, rather than above it. A stud is used to regulate the balance, rather than a more traditional swan’s neck or another type, to keep it thin.

The mainspring barrel delivers an absurd 44 hours of power reserve, despite being super flat and forgoing the traditional hallmarks such as a decorative cover. This barrel has also been mated to a ball bearing system. The crown of this watch is recessed and forms a part of the case when not in use, to protect the crown stem and ensure a clean look. The crystal covering the watch is 0.2mm thick and set in a unique resin and set in a recess within the case. The new design also means the water resistance is 30 meters.

The bottom line

“Now, that’s all well and good, but if this concept becomes a reality, how do I know Piaget won’t become the epicentre of another ‘BendGate’ scenario?” I hear you ask. Indeed, it is a good question. To protect the watch from bending when worn flush on a wrist, the case is made of an exclusive ‘Cobalt based high-tech alloy’. This feels like their way of saying ‘It’s made of a metal, and that’s all you need to know’. Piaget hasn’t released information about the case material, or what’s in that alloy, so we have no information on it. The strap is made of alligator leather coupled with Kevlar for long-term strength and is 0.1mm thick. I hope this watch becomes a reality; I can’t wait to wear it! piaget.com