Ultra thin has always been Piaget’s thing. In 1957 it launched its 9P, which was the first, branded ultra-thin manual winding calibre, which had a thickness of only 2mm and since then it has strived to be the thinnest in every watch category with all the dedication of a new catwalk model.
And it has certainly succeeded. Out of the 35 calibres the brand has created and produced in house, 23 of those are among the thinnest of their kind.
However, with the Altiplano 900P it really has pulled all the stops out and to breathtaking effect. It is a frankly stunning blend of design and mechanical mastery and we just had to have a closer look.
The Piaget Altiplano holds the record for having created the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. This is a brand known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to thin watches but the 900P, clocking in at a staggering 3.65mm, is a real engineering feat.
The work that has gone into this watch is something to marvel at and the crux of this design is the fusion of the mainplate with the caseback. We could go on for hours boring you with the finer details of how it is made, but we’ll keep it to the most important facts.
With this construction, no separate movement can be removed from the case, the two are fused together, with the “caseback” also taking on the role of baseplate for some of the movement components too.
The mechanical element that is visible on the dial is the gear train, which means you can see the functional part of the watch. However, this is also a practical measure, allowing Piaget’s engineers to reduce the thickness of the some components, some of which are thinner than a human hair.
Another way in which the team was able to get the watch this thin was by using a suspended barrel. In a classic movement, the barrel is fixed to the both the bridge and the mainplate. As the maniplate doesn’t technically exist in this watch there is nothing holding the bottom of the barrel, again reducing the watch’s thickness.
Look and feel
Impressive as all those technical facts are, they really don’t really matter if the watch doesn’t wear well. This watch certainly does.
In keeping with Piaget’s style, it is classic, elegant, timeless and absolutely desirable. The thinness means that it almost melts into the lines of the wrist, despite the case not being curved, and, from a distance the gear train looks like an exquisitely rendered pattern.
If we had one we’d wear it all the time but a twenty grand price tag does temper that impulse slightly.
That said it does go with everything. The relatively pared-back design looks great with a leather jacket and biker boots but it could also work for cocktail hour.
In other words, it’s the perfect watch.
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NEED TO KNOW
The Piaget Altiplano 900P mixes technical mastery with design brilliance. It is a showcase for the brand’s watchmaking prowess wrapped up in an incredibly beautiful package. There is a version with a diamond-set bezel but we think the plain white gold is the perfect foil for the daring dial design
Piaget Altiplano 900P RRP: £20,800; white gold case and hand-wound mechanical in-house movement
Buy Now: Piaget Altiplano 900P