The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P watch hands-on
We are attending the 2018 SIHH in Geneva, and a few weeks after its presentation in our flash news section, we have eventually managed to touch with our very own hands the brand new and innovative Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P. So far, the 2018 SIHH has brought us several new releases and has completely turned upside down the balance within the watch industry; a prime example of this change is the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P, which gives back to Piaget the award for the world's thinnest automatic watch; 4.3mm in thickness, including the case!
Similar to the world of motorsport, even in watch-making competitions are won for a few tenths of a second; in the first case the benchmark is the lap time, whereas in the second case it is the size and, in particular, the thickness of a timepiece that really make the difference. In both fields, however, every single member must contribute to the achievement of a single objective: victory. Piaget smashes every distinction between the caliber and the case with a synergy that has never been seen before in watch-making. The 910P caliber pays tribute to the historic 9P caliber that turned Piaget into today's company; one of the most technologically advanced high-end manufactures on the market. In the 910P the case combines with the movement acting as a plate and thus supporting all of the 219 components.
This type of synergy can also be seen on the production process side; the maison can avail of a dedicated manufacturing facility for the production of calibers that is based in "La Côte-aux-Fées" and another one located in "Plan-les-Ouates", where external components are being manufactured. For 3 years, the technicians from the design and development departments of the two seats have worked together as a team united by a single mission; the creation of the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P. All these concepts almost disappear once you have placed this timepiece around your wrist, where figures and engineering skills give way to the elegance and superlative finishes of every single tenth of a millimeter of this watch, such as the skeletonized bridges and gears that have been beveled and decorated with a soleil pattern and the circular satin finish effect.
Gold, the noble material par excellence, also finds an engineering application in the oscillating mass that, thanks to the reduced size of the component, decreases the moment of inertia and thus increases the winding capacity of the 50-hour-charging spiral. The high specific weight of this material helps recover the ground that has been lost due to the size. Another technical feature of gold is its high malleability, which comes quite handy with such small components. The choice of a peripheral oscillating mass is not only elegant and refined (and necessary to reduce the thickness to a minimum), but it also makes the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P closer to the purity of a manual winding watch.
Engineering and aesthetics also cross path in the arrangement of the wheel train, the gears almost function as a crown to the counters, while highlighting the only "full" area of the dial. A passion for ultra-thin watches lies in the DNA of Piaget and the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P is here to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano collection by winning back the world record for the thinnest automatic watch that, until last year, was in the hands of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo. Things do not stop here, however, as this timepiece has laid the foundation for a completely different future in watch-making; a future in which the roles of the various components blend and where engineering and aesthetics come together to turn the impossible into reality.
Being able to try on this work of fine watch-making during the 2018 SIHH could almost be compared to an encounter with a mythological character; you read previously about this character, you know the technical details and every single aesthetic aspect of its personalty, but when you see it live, it is a breathtaking experience and a feeling that is able to surprise you more than any other word I could ever write on here. The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P is available in two versions, both in 18-karat gold, retailing at $27,000 for the white gold version and at $26,000 for the rose gold version.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®