December 17, 2017
by Kenny Yeo
The main idea behind an ultra-thin watch is quite simple. Simply miniaturize components as much as possible and try to stack them in the smallest space possible. Executing this, on the other hand, is far more complex, requiring watchmakers to adopt novel solutions as they try to make watches as thin as possible. Piaget is known for ultra-thin watches and made headlines in the horological world in 2011 when they announced the Altiplano, which at just 5.25mm thick, became the thinnest self-winding watch in the world. However, at Baselworld earlier this year, Bulgari stole the title from Piaget with their Octo Finissimo Automatic, which came in at 5.15mm thick. An improvement of 0.1mm might seem trivial, but it’s a big deal in the world of ultra-thin watches where every millimeter and micrometer counts. Eager to reclaim the title and also in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano, Piaget’s response is the new Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P watch, which is an incredible 4.3mm thick! What a comeback!
The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P draws its inspiration from another Piaget ultra-thin watch, specifically the Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P. Released at the tail end of 2013, it was just 3.65mm thick and held the title of world’s thinnest mechanical watch for about two years (until the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Squelette came along) and still remains to be one of the thinnest mechanical watches you can buy. It is an impressive piece of engineering that blends the movement together with the case. There’s no movement that can be removed from the watch, as the case and movement are part of a single unit. The Altiplano Ultimate 910P was designed and built with this exact same concept. As a result, the two watches look quite similar.
The Altiplano Ultimate 910P comes in a 41mm wide case and is available in 18k white and pink gold. Thickness, as I mentioned earlier is just 4.3mm, which is a staggering 0.85mm thinner than the last record holder. Both versions will come with a black alligator leather strap and matching gold pin buckles. Water resistance isn’t mentioned, but I can’t expect it to be more than 30m.
Since the movement and case are one, to maximize space, the Altiplano Ultimate 910P is offset at 10 o’clock and is set slightly into the bridges. Surrounding the dial are the various wheels of the gear train. The balance is positioned just underneath the dial at 8 o’clock. The movement within is christened the Calibre 910P, in reference the Calibre 900P of the Altiplano 38mm. It is made up of 238 components, beats at 3Hz, and has a power reserve of about 50 hours when fully wound. While most ultra-thin automatic watches use a micro-rotor, Piaget goes one step further and instead uses a 22k gold peripheral rotor. As you can imagine, some of the components are incredibly thin. To give you an idea, while most wheels in conventional movements are about 0.2mm thick, they are just 0.12mm thick in the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P.
Despite the thinness, Piaget has not skimped on finishing. Since so many of the watch’s components are visible for all to see, the wheels are alternately sunburst and satin-finished, the bridges are chamfered, and the main plate is satin-brushed and sand-blasted. On top of that, screws around the dial are coated with black PVD.
The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P watch is a very unique and impressive watch. Unique because of its construction and impressive because of just how much thinner it is when compared to the previous title holder. It will take something really special to usurp this watch as the thinnest automatic in the world. The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P is priced at $26,000 in rose gold and $27,000 in white gold. piaget.com