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Piaget's 'Ultra-thin' Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Elijah Durojaiye 04/24/2024
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Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Image: Piaget

Fans of the Piaget brand will recognize the award-winning Altiplano Ultimate Concept exterior design. However, Piaget stated that 90% of the components in the Altiplano Ultimate Concept had to be redesigned/reinvented to accommodate the 1.49mm high annular tourbillon in such a tiny enclosure.

Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Image: Piaget

One just has to wonder how it’s even possible to fit a tourbillon into a case that thin. The masterminds at Piaget revealed a seemingly impossible feat.

For the uninitiated, a tourbillion is a mechanism that helps counter the effect of gravity on the accuracy of a mechanical watch. Its function has long been rendered irrelevant, but the fascinating movement of the mechanism, which is usually visible through the watch dial, has kept watch enthusiasts spellbound. The complexity of incorporating one in a watch has also kept the price of watches that include one relatively high.

The Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillion is incredibly beautiful. The culmination of three long years of work, the 2mm thin timepiece has a clean and elegant look that will capture the attention of any observer regardless of their feelings towards horology.

Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Image: Piaget

The skeletonized dial reveals a subdial showing the hour and minutes hands positioned off-center close to where the 12 o’clock marker would typically be. Forty-five degrees away from that, you have an engraving showing the year 1874. Below that, you have some exposed gears with the 150th anniversary engraving. Above that is the star of the show, the annular tourbillon. Holding the outer edges of the tourbillon in place is a ceramic ball bearing, which drives its one-minute rotation.

These are all housed in a 41.5mm diameter cobalt alloy case treated with blue PVD (Physical vapor deposition). The watch has a water resistance depth of 20 meters.

A fascinating fact about the tourbillon is that it requires 25% additional power. The watchmaker used some clever techniques to improve the power efficiency and provide more power. These include replacing pivots with ball bearings to make the rotation of the mobile elements easier and including a made-to-measure mainspring to provide the required additional power.

Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Image: Piaget

Sitting on the wearer’s wrist, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon is almost invisible, and once it’s noticed, it’ll likely be a conversation starter. The awe-inspiring features display the brilliance of all involved in making such an incredible timepiece, and it’s exciting to see what Piaget will develop next as the brand continues the ‘ultra-thin’ expedition. The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra should be looking over its shoulder.


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