The genius of Piaget is to present in the Altiplano a watch of extraordinary beauty that is also the ultimate in simplicity. This wonderful clarity of design was on display as never before at SIHH, when the renowned watchmaker celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano.
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For purists, the genius of Piaget is best illustrated by the pioneering, ultra-thin movements, introduced in 1957. All watch enthusiasts know the 9P movement, just 2mm thick. Subsequent movements – especially the recent 900P, which integrates the movement with the case – have received justifiable applause. The slimness of the movement suits the Altiplano, with its perfectly round face and deliberate lack of ornamentation.
For the 60th anniversary, Piaget presented a stunning line-up, using vibrant colours and precious gems to revitalise the collection. Only 260 of each colour of the 40mm Altiplano 60th Anniversary watches are being offered for sale. The colours are green, blue and dark grey, so the total is just 780. The colours are vivid, the green and blue more so than the grey. The grey is matched with white gold, the green with yellow gold and the blue with pink gold. The alligator strap reflects the colour of the dial. The dial is marked “Piaget Automatique” and has a date window at 3 o’clock. These models are powered by the calibre 1203P. Other Altiplano models are the 38mm, a manually wound watch with the 2.1mm calibre 430P; and the 43mm self-winding version fitted with the calibre 1200P. Both are white gold, with blue dials and straps.
Also fitted with the manually wound 430P is the 34mm white gold Altiplano 60th Anniversary lady’s model. Only 360 will be available. The colour is a deep pink, which is offset by a bezel of 72 diamonds in one variant. There are two other exquisite 38mm lady’s models, and only 38 examples of each will reach the market. One, in pink gold, has a white opal dial. The other, in white gold, has a turquoise dial. Both models have the 72-gem diamond bezel and a white alligator strap.
The line-up of lady’s watches is completed by the outstanding Altiplano 60th Anniversary 900P. It is the slimmest watch on the market, being just 3.65mm thick. Only 200 examples of the pink gold creation with white alligator strap will be offered. The 38mm watch has a white dial, which is dominated by a large hour ring in pink gold that reveals the movement.
Piaget has added a tourbillon watch to the Altiplano line-up. The watch made a big splash at SIHH. The Altiplano Tourbillon High Jewellery model is powered by the calibre 670P, which is a 4.6mm manually wound movement, giving it a 48-hour power reserve. The stem-winding system is distinguished by an intermediate wheel. It comes in white gold, with a bezel of baguette diamonds and brilliant-cut diamonds on the lugs. The watch has a vitreous enamel dial in blue-grey, with a guilloché radiating pattern. The hour indicator is a small dial at 8 o’clock, and the minute indicator is a ring around an aperture displaying the movement at 2 o’clock. On the reverse there are more diamonds. The production run of this model is only 38 watches.
Artisanal techniques are used to enhance the Altiplano anniversary models. The 38mm Altiplano Feather Marquetry is just what its name says it is. Feathers from peacocks, ducks and farmyard cocks are cleaned, cut into minute pieces, highlighted in silver leaf and arranged in an appealing pattern on the dial. Artist Emilie Moutard-Martin is the creator. Shades of blue, purple, green and silver are complemented by the blue strap, the white gold case and the 72 brilliants of the bezel. The model is hand-wound, powered by the 430P. Only 38 will be made for sale.
The Double Jeu Lacework has a hinged lid, skeletonised to resemble lace and decorated with marquise diamonds. In creating this watch, Piaget tapped jewellery designer Sara Bran to apply her skill in making open-work gold jewellery. Brilliants decorate the lugs and bezel of the 38mm case, made of pink gold. The button to open the lid is placed where the crown would normally be, and the crown is at 4 o’clock. The gold hands, set against the mother-of-pearl dial, can be seen through the gold lacework of the lid. This model is also powered by the 430P.
Piaget has enlarged its Polo S collection, launched in 2016, with two new variants. Both 42mm watches are designated Polo S ADLC, to indicate that they are made of stainless steel coated with amorphous diamond-like carbon. One is a chronograph and the other an automatic with date. Unlike earlier models, they have rubber straps. Only 888 pieces of each will reach the market.