The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P previewed
Leadership is something that you need to conquer and then maintain and Piaget will do just that at the upcoming SIHH 2018 by releasing the thinnest automatic timepiece in the world; the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P. The passion and skills of the Piaget maison for ultra-thin watches started at the beginning of the 20th century to then get even richer in 1957, when the manufacturer presented in Basel the thinnest manual winding calibre in the world; the famous 2mm-thin 9P calibre. Not content with the goal just achieved, in 1960, the 2.3mm-thin 12P calibre made history when it was crowned the thinnest automatic calibre in the world. As you might have noticed already, when it comes to watch-making, a few tenths of a millimetre and the synergy between the different components can really make a difference.
The current 910P calibre – the name is a tribute to the 9P calibre – brings the level slightly down with its thinness measuring 4,30mm, 219 components (including the case) and 41mm in diameter; the whole lot including the case. Earlier on, I mentioned the concept of synergy between the different component and on the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P the line between the case and the movement gets even more blurred as if it were a single piece. The plate is actually the case itself and all the components have been attached to it and, with their gears that are as thin as 0.12mm, they take watch-making engineering to a brand new level.
Piaget can rely on two manufacturing plants; one of them is entirely devoted to the making of calibres and its seat is in La Côte-aux-Fées, whereas the other manufacturing plant focuses on the crafting of outer parts and is located in Plan-les-Ouates. For the crafting of such a high range watch-making and engineering project like the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P, the maison decided to break the rules of its tradition and bring together the two manufacturing plants; a move deemed necessary to optimize every single component and space resources.
The oscillating mass made of 22K gold has undergone a black PVD treatment, it is perimetral to the movement itself, thus leaving room for the other components. The decision to opt for this type of material was aesthetical, but mainly technical, as gold is easily malleable and it has a specific weight that helps the moment of inertia needed to recharge the winding spring. The hands are off-centred and located slightly underneath the bridges so that any possible pressures on the glass wouldn’t affect the movement of the hands.
The development of this timepiece took 3 years and the maison claims that the final result is the crowning of its engineering and stylistic skills, each mechanic solution is devoted to the aesthetic side and each aesthetic solution is devoted to the mechanics. The finishing is of an extremely high level and so are the skeletonized bridges that are bevelled and decorated with a soleil motif (like the gears), the case-middle, on the other hand, is matted with a circular effect. Both versions (rose gold and white gold) come with an alligator leather strap with a pin buckle made of the matching material.
I found of particular interest the idea of using the case as a support for the calibre and I can somehow see it as an analogy for the line of business I am in; the world of motorbikes, where the difference between the chassis and the engine is often blurred and all the components work together towards a common goal. The end of the year 2017 coincides with the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P regaining its leadership and the manufacturer celebrating even further the 60th anniversary of this collection; a lesson to teach us that mechanics and aesthetic don’t walk on different paths and, if you put them together, you might be in for the discovery of unbeaten paths.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Piaget)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®