Editor’s note: Like you, we are also excited for the Watches & Wonders 2022 novelties. Before we get to dive deep into them, here’s our preview & Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece. For our detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post.
Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece In A Nutshell
My first reaction to the new Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece announced today on 30 March 2022 — as part of the Watches & Wonders 2022 March 30 to April 5 (both online and at the Salon) — was to be reminded that as a watch reviewer you go through so many releases that a monotony sets in and sometimes you forget about impressive this wonderful industry can be at times. When ‘disruptive’ watches like the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece are released, it gives us a chance to appreciate the design and engineering efforts that can go into making these wrist beauties.
What we have here ladies and gentlemen in an impressive feat of mechanical and horological engineering. To put it into context, before the likes of the 2mm thick Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece and the 1.8mm thick Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra were the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Squelette at 3.60mm, Piaget’s own Altiplano 900P — launched in 2014 and was the world’s thinnest mechanical watch at that time — at 3.65mm, Vacheron Constantin’s Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955 at 4.13mm, the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic at 4.3mm, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra-Thin Automatique at 5.15mm, and the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 at 7.45mm.
So when we talk about a watch as unique as the new Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece, it comes with a certain sense of awe. And this latest version of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept also impressively charms with the aesthetics of a SuperLuminova constellation on the mainplate that represents the sky. This also reminds me of another event Piaget release from this year, the Piaget Limelight Gala Aventurine. I also like how at 2:30 the birthday of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept — 7th February 2017 — is inscribed in a small window. The watch for connoisseurs is full of details that will enthral the wearer.
Basic Specifications of The Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece
The Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece ref. G0A4750 features a manual-winding mechanical movement, calibre 900P-UC. The movement comprises of 13 jewels and 167 individual parts, beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), and is encased inside a 41mm diameter and 2mm thick polished cobalt-based alloy case. This movement makes use of entirely re-engineered and re-sized parts. The wheels have been reduced from the conventional thickness of 0.20mm to 0.12mm, and the sapphire crystal from the standard thickness of 1mm to only 0.2mm.
The watch offers an impressive (for an ultra-thin movement) 45-hour power — the mainspring barrel has no cover or drum but is mounted on a single, ceramic ball-bearing within the frame of the watch to enable the fully-wound movement to run — reserve and a 30m (3 ATM) water-resistance.
For a more detailed read please head to our review of the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept from 2020 when it first broke the world record for the thinnest mechanical watch.
“Most timepieces are made up of four layers: 1) the bezel and crystal, 2) the dial and hands, 3) the movement, and 4) the case back. Piaget removed this four-layer construction to create a fusion of components with the bridges, dial, and hands, on one side, and the case back, movement, main plate and bezel on the other, all coming together as one. This fusion of watchmaking construction features five patents that have enabled the Maison to create a timepiece that is a mere 2mm in height, from the underside of the caseback to the top of the sapphire crystal”.Press Release
The recently dethroned king of slimness is back as a piece unique – meet the new Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece. It’s been a week since the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra set the new world record for the thinnest mechanical watch, beating the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece by a mere 0.2mm. This may not seem like a big deal at a glance, but if the entire watch is only 1.8mm, 0.2mm is indeed a big deal. So does this mean that the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece loses its appeal? No, not really.
For starters, knowing the brilliant minds at Piaget — they have been pioneers since 1957 when the Maison introduced the world’s thinnest mechanical movement, the Calibre 9P that led to the launch of 12P in 1960, the 1200P and the 1208P in 2010, and the ground-breaking 900P in 2014 — I am sure cogs are already in motion to beat Bulgari’s record. Which is a good thing because hefty competition like this is what gives an industry ‘disruptive’ products. And two, the new Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece is aesthetically very different, a stunner in its own rights that evokes the spirt of a starry night, and frankly given it is the only one of its kind in the world, it is also as rare as they get.
To find out more about the new Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece and their other watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are courtesy are © Piaget 2022. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2022 novelties here.