Watch enthusiasts and -connoisseurs look forward to it perhaps even more then Christmas; the announcements regarding the upcoming SIHH. What new watch wonders will be waiting for us in the next year? When it is up to Piaget, more of the same. More of the same record-breaking, ultra-thin delights commonly known as watches. Like a horological Jane Fonda born to age with a grace that is always current. This is the type of more of the same where you can’t get enough from. The fascination of how something so thin, can function so precisely.
That Piaget breaks and holds many records in the field of ultra-thin watches, often only to break them once more. They are the bench mark when it comes to ultra-slim watches. Simply because for them it is a way of life. That does not make it any less impressive that one of the watches they announced for the 2015, and 25th, edition of the SIHH is a double record holder. The new Altiplano Chronograph not only features a movement that is only 4.65mm thin –cased, the watch has a height of only 8.24mm, and that makes it the thinnest manual wind flyback chronograph movement in current production, as well as the thinnest manual wind flyback chronograph watch.
When you buy a highly exotic sports car, more is often less; the best performing versions often lack certain creature comforts. The impressive part about the new Altiplano Chronograph, is that it doesn’t. Descending from the 880P, the movement –calibre 883 –shares many of the calibre 880’s characteristics (a simple way of looking at it, is that calibre 883 is the calibre 880 minus the automatic winding system) including a sub-seconds at six o’clock, chronograph counter at three and –yes, they kept it! –the sub-dial for the second timezone at nine o’clock. This combination of complications has made the 880P powered Piaget’s great all rounder and does the same now for the new Altiplano Chronograph. Especially when you realize that also the flyback-function is part of the package.
So Piaget must be cutting corners on the movement itself? Well, they are cutting something, but it ain’t corners. Crafting a watch this thin, height reduction is important and that results in for example a chronograph gear finger of only 0.06mm and a 0.115mm barrel staff. Yet any high end chronograph comes with a few staples, like the column wheel, vertical coupling clutch, and of course caliber 883P has them. The same goes for a superb finish that includes beveled edges, circular Côtes de Genève and blued screws.
The dial is typical Piaget; a true understatement with its painted hour markers and black stick hands. Actually, to me this reminds me of the first generation of Altiplano watches. The time only version, introduced in 1957 and sporting the revolutionary, as well as legendary, caliber 9P, it also had painted hour markers. As much as an understatement as it is, they also have a practical reason; they allowed for the hands to be placed closer to the dial, making the overall watch even more thin. Indeed, some things never change!
(As there has been some confusion on this point, Revolution would like to note that the world’s thinnest hand-wound chronograph movement is the F. Piguet 1180, at 3.95mm. The Piaget calibre 883 is the world’s thinnest hand-wound flyback chronograph, at 4.65mm. –Ed.)
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics