The Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary 43mm Limited Edition - SIHH 2017 LIVE
How would you describe a three-hands-timepiece that has withstood the ups and downs of fashion for the last sixty years? Would you call it a miracle? Probably you would, since the Piaget Altiplano didn’t change a bit during this long period of time (barred the updates and the technologies that have naturally evolved in the world of watch-making) and there are quite a few timepieces that can boast this phenomenal record. A real watch fan should know exactly when an anniversary is coming up, and, if they are not sure about the date, they should definitely do a bit of research as, on these occasions, historic manufacturers always release something special to mark the special date.
When it comes to Piaget, there is one thing that you can be sure of; it is an extremely high-level manufacturing company with a communication policy that revolves around the concept of “understatement” that aims at giving its product its very own voice following the typical class and style of the second half of the 20th century. To summarize; every anniversary is celebrated in style but almost under one’s breath.
When we refer to the Altilpano (a tribute to one of the highest mountain tops in the world, the plateau of the Andean Mountains), we mean the ultra-thin watch par excellence. It might be true that other manufacturers can craft wonderful ultra-thin timepieces nowadays but the very first ultra-thin watch ever created was launched in 1957 and it was this very manufacturer, which did so. It is therefore our historical duty to associate the term “ultra-thin” to Piaget; a company that has managed to turn itself into an iconic manufacturer of calibers like the famous manual 9P or the automatic 12P references that were launched in 1957 and 1960 and were 2mm and 2,3mm thick, respectively. Many of the so-called ultra-thin calibers that Piaget’s competitors have come up with ever since are based on these two very calibers.
The Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary makes a concession to modern style and is almost a counter-fashion phenomenon given the current market trend; this version (a limited edition within an entirely new collection) features a white gold case that measures a respectable 43mm in size. It is quite an important size if we keep in mind what direction the market is steering to (a constant reduction in watch sizes) and that this brand usually moves within a full classicism area of influence.
43mm in size is not too much when a timepiece is fully capable to perfectly translate every single value of the original model into the modern world; features that range from the “Automatique” writing in Italics that can be found under the brand’s logo, up to the thin light-blue cross that cuts the dial into four sectors, where fine golden indices have been applied, which communicate a feeling of aesthetical lightness that blends in with the ultra-thin case. Piaget has inserted within that case the heir of the 12P caliber that was released a few years ago with the name 1200P; it is an automatic caliber with a generous plate sporting a round Côtes de Genève decoration.
It is a pattern that Piaget seems very fond of and is completed with the insertion of a micro-rotor made of gold featuring an engraving of the Piaget coat of arms; the same way the manufacturer did with its 1960 model. The choice of a micro-rotor can be explained in two different manners; on the one side, it dramatically reduces the thickness of an automatic caliber (the 1200P is only 0,05mm thicker than the 12P) and, on the other hand, it makes the whole experience similar to that of a manual caliber. Available in just 360 pieces, each of them retailed at 17900 dollars, the Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary 43mm Limited Edition is a collector's piece, the heir to the first ultra-thin timepiece ever crafted, a timeless classic and the proof you are true watch connoisseurs.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®