Everything in this watch is designed to take as little space as possible for the 238 components that make up the movement and case. The caseback is actually the baseplate for the movement components, thus eliminating a layer of thickness. The small hours and minutes dial is offset at 10 o’clock and integrated within the thickness of the caliber, as opposed to being on top of the caliber which is standard. The 219 movement components are merged with the case, spread out in a semi-circle beneath the dial, with all of the components no thicker than the balance wheel. Some of the parts are “barely thicker than a hair’s breadth,” the luxury brand said. This includes certain wheels measuring just 0.12 mm thick (compared with 0.20 mm on a traditional movement). A suspended barrel is held by a single bridge on the dial side, as opposed to customary barrels that are fixed on the mainplate side. In fact, all of the bridges are fitted on the dial side in what the brand describes as “reversed movement construction.”
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. 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.
In 1957, Piaget launched the 9P caliber, measuring 2 mm in depth, distinguishing itself in the field of ultra-thin watchmaking. The groundbreaking movement was the catalyst in the creation of the Piaget Antiplano ultra-thin watch line, which continues to this day. In fact, the luxury brand spent 2017 celebrating its 60th anniversary of the Antiplano line.
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.
What is new about this particular watch is the oscillating weight (rotor)—a slender piece of 22k gold with a PVD coating. It is positioned on the exterior of the watch, sliding around the dial and movement and just inside the bezel. Gold is used for the rotor in order to bring weight, inertia and robustness, which enhances winding performance, the company said. While the weight moves in both directions like a typical rotor, the winding mechanism only works in one direction, which again contributes to the watch’s overall slimness.
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