Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

More ultra thin from the kingdom of Piaget for 2013. The main attraction at SIHH 2013 from the fashionable Swiss watch and movement maker was of course their ultra-thin minute repeater. We did get a hands-on that we will share with you soon, but something closer to being within the realm of possible affordability is this new 40mm wide Piaget Altiplano Date watch. The lovely dress watch is a new version of the Altiplano 43 Automatic that came out a few years ago. What's new? Well the size is down to 40mm wide from 43mm and Piaget added a date complication.

The original Altiplano 43mm Automatic (hands-on here) was in my opinion, a landmark watch for the brand in terms of offering something for daily wear. The Polo is a bit of a strange piece with a niche demographic that doesn't just want a Piaget, but wants a sporty Piaget. While the brand is a very accomplished movement maker, on the outside their strength seems to be working with diamonds. The Altiplano 43mm Automatic offered a truly nice men's watch without the jewelry that was also convenient and well-sized. It is the watch for the American or European guy who wanted something larger than 38mm wide and an automatic movement. The Altiplano also contained the world's thinnest automatic movement in the thinnest case for such a movement.

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Altiplano Date takes this concept further with the in-house made Piaget 1205P automatic movement that adds a date complication. Now you have the world's thinnest automatic movement with date, in the thinnest case. The caliber 1205P is just 3mm thick and very beautiful with its fantastic finishing and gold micro-rotor. It is viewable through the sapphire display caseback on the Altiplano Date. Is adding a date wheel all that special? In truth no, but Piaget needs to slowly dole out these "world's thinnest" so your collection has something to crave. Offering this piece in a 40mm wide case versus 43mm gives people an additional reason to be interested.

What I noticed about the Altiplano Date is that despite it having some design errors I still like it a lot. The hands again are too short, and the date looks odd on the far left side of the case. Speaking of the hands, I wanted them to be the right size on the original Altiplano 43mm Automatic that we did a "Watch What-If" making them the right size digitally here. It is quirky looking albeit very useful dial and design.

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Curiously enough Piaget practices incredible restraint in not formally adding the "ultra-thin" label to the name. Even though this is a record-setting watch, the official name of it is just "Piaget Altiplano Date." That is amusing because a lot of the time watches with nothing particularly special to brag about in terms of being thin will gladly throw around the label, and then here Piaget is silent. How thin is the Altiplano Date? The 18k white or rose gold case is just. 6.36mm thick. On the wrist it lays flat like a plate (in a good way).

While I mostly never wear 40mm wide watches as in my opinion they are too small, this is certainly one of those instances that I would make an exception. The size works very nicely and the thin bezel makes the case look larger than it is. I also don't mind the relatively thin lugs. Attached to the case is a black or brown alligator strap with matching gold buckle.

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The original Piaget Altiplano 43mm was marred by production problems. It took a long time to be produced and was never (to my knowledge) made in great numbers. It is still apparently a difficult watch to get today. It is difficult to guess why, but it goes without saying that mass producing mechanical watch movements is a truly horrific undertaking. The good news is that Piaget claims the production issues are solved in the sense that the Piaget Altiplano Date will not require nearly as long a wait and should begin to be available by the summer. That is good news as this is a great dress watch.

For the time being the dials are only in white, but that is OK because I think the dials work best this way. The 43mm wide version eventually came in a slate dial that was nice looking but not nearly as legible. I hope that all future versions of these automatic Altiplano models preserve the beautiful high-contrast display style. As a formal suit watch with a great movement and modern design the Altiplano Date is a good option in my opinion. Though it is not cheap. Price is a bit more in white gold versus rose gold, and it goes for just over $20,000.

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget Altiplano Date 40mm Ultra-Thin Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Piaget Altiplano Date – technical specifications
Movement Automatic Caliber 1205P, entirely developed, produced,
decorated and assembled by Piaget
World’s thinnest automatic movement with date:
3 mm thick
Diameter: 29.9 mm (13’’’ ¼)
Approximately 44-hour power reserve
Frequency: 21,600 vph / 3 Hz
Number of parts: 221
Number of jewels: 27
Circular Côtes de Genève
Circular-grained mainplate
Beveled bridges
Sunray-brushed wheels
Blued screws
Dedicated index-assembly
Rose gold micro-rotor engraved with the Piaget coat of arms
Case World’s thinnest automatic watch with date: 6.36 mm
40 mm-diameter Altiplano case
18K white gold, 18K rose gold, or 18K rose gold featuring bezel
set with 72 diamonds (approx. 1 ct)
Sapphire crystal case back
Strap Black alligator leather with 18K white gold pin buckle or
Brown alligator leather with 18K rose gold pin buckle

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What do you think?
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  • P Oktori

    Thanks for a great review. I don’t like the date that much, and would prefer the automatic without it in 43. I am wondering how popular the date version will prove to be. Something tells me they are hoping it will appeal more to women as in my experience women can be just a little bit more practical in their choice of watches and obviously many would find the 43 a little large. I agree also on the length of the hands. And why put “automatic” on the dial? It’s something I’ve not understood much. Surely the owner would know what kind of watch they’re wearing? I just hope they leave the perfect small seconds model as it is… No date, and no “handwound” on the dial… 🙂

    • MarkCarson

      P OktoriI agree, I prefer the older version without the date which is much more elegant. The date indicator looks simply tacked on and ruins the otherwise classy dial (and yes the hands are still too short).
      And yeah, I would not have guessed it is only 40 mm, that thin bezel indeed does make it look larger. 
      Looking back at the review of the 43 mm model ( I can see that with the minimally angled lugs, that size does appear to wear large. Maybe the 40 mm is the sweet spot size for an Altiplano (without the date – or move it to 10:30 maybe and in a circular opening).

      • P Oktori

        MarkCarson P Oktori 
        Dear MarkCarson, 
        I have tried on the 43 a few times, but it lacked the elegance of the small seconds model. The dial of the automatic is lovely, but the seconds’ small inlay dial is a little busy, unlike that of the small seconds one. I adore mine (small seconds); it is the perfect dress watch, but I might have gone for one in 42mm (not 43) if they’d made it. Size does matter a little. Then again, it is white gold. It is not as easy to polish, and having a big watch means you’re more likely to scuff it. I wish platinum was cheap… 🙂

  • Probably the ultimate dress watch, which is both a positive and a negative.

  • MarkCarson

    Here is where I think they should have put the date (and the hands are longer too):

  • Gee Z

    Aside from the date placement, a very nice watch.
    Finally the diameters are coming down to a more reasonable size – who wants to wear a wallclock? Swiss watches were in the past always about elegance and packing the most functionality into a small case, but for some reason this has been forgotten the last few years….

  • Kris C

    I like the date placement… but I agree it should have kept the old size.
    Regardless, it’s still a snoozer, and I don;t know where it would fit in my rotation – I already have a prosaic dress watch.

  • Dadoftwogirlls

    Meh. Just meh. Very plain. Very boring.

  • arzileiro

    Simplesmente belo, puro de linhas, um relógio de homem.
    Simply beautifull, pure lignes, a men watch.

  • Ryan B

    A rosegold version with a black dial might seem more inviting, still a nice piece.

  • Ulysses31

    Yeah, it’s thin alright…  Next!

  • nateb123

    Two things:
    1) The minute hand isn’t too short because there’s no minute track.  As long as it reaches the hour markers, that’s as long as it needs to be.
    2)  A lot of commenters seem to forget that this is watch is smaller because Piaget is huge in China.  That’s the reason they have so many diamond ladies pieces, like Cartier.  The brand has a lot of pull, so when they released a 43mm with no date, the Chinese market said “It’s too big and needs a date”.  And this is what happens.  This is going to sell like crazy, much as we may be jaded to its simplicity.

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