Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P
Creating an ultra-thin watch is not as easy as it may seem. For one thing, miniaturization in any form or fashion requires extreme precision in every single component. Piaget has been at many points during its long history the record holder for ultra-thin watches. In 2014, Piaget is entering into its 140th Anniversary and for this special occasion, Piaget has literally thrown down the gauntlet with the release of the Altiplano 38mm 900P which has an incredible case height of only 3.65mm.
The movement used in this release Caliber 900P is reminiscent of movements from the 50’s and 60’s such as the 9P and 12P, which were ultra-thin manual and ultra-thin automatic movements respectively. The movement is composed of 145 parts, and some of those parts have been trimmed to just 60% of their actual size in a regular movement. Regardless of all of these innovations, Piaget is still able to offer this model with a power reserve of 48 hours. The Altiplano 900P is fitted with 20 jewels and vibrates at 21,600 alternations per hour.
The Piaget Altiplano 900P uses two rather unorthodox techniques for making this watch the thinnest in the world. Piaget uses the back of the watch case as part of the movement. The case back is actually precisely shaped to accommodate the gear train, the motion works, and the gears responsible for the adjustments of the hour and minute hands. The second solution is that Piaget also places all of the gears on the same plane as the dial.
The size of the case is 38mm, which by today’s standards isn’t big in the least. The case is fashioned from 18kt white gold which has been polished, lending to a very dressy aesthetic. The case back features Piaget’s Coat of Arms, and the phrase ‘Piaget Mecanique’.
Piaget has one more ace up its sleeve in the form of a new device that is still awaiting its patent. This device is designed to ensure the durability of ultra-thin watches. Piaget places the hands below the bridges which frees up a small amount of space between the cannon-pinion and the crystal. Crystals can sometimes be warped by pressure and they may sometimes press on the hands. Placing the hands below the bridge level negates this as a possibility.