• Sat
  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 3:28am

Staying thin for 50 years

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 March, 2010, 12:00am

The world's thinnest self-winding movement is now only 2.35mm thick - the equivalent of two stacked CDs. Piaget celebrates the 50th anniversary of its famous Calibre 12P movement with the new ultra-thin Calibre 1200P, which will be equipping the Piaget Altiplano 43mm anniversary edition model.

'We are celebrating 50 years of ultra-thin history,' says Philippe L?opold-Metzger, chief executive officer of Piaget.

'With these new movements, the watches this year are sleeker, more elegant, more distinctive.'

Like the 12P, this year's version features only hour and minute functions. For those who prefer more dial adornment with the same ultra-thin look, the new Calibre 1208P, launched alongside the 1200P, is also 2.35mm thick and features a small seconds display at four o'clock.

The 1208P movement equips the new Piaget Altiplano automatic 43mm model. Piaget broke two ultra-thin records this year with these releases. In addition to the 1200P and 1208P, the two Piaget Altiplano 43mm models equipped with the movements also claim the title of the world's thinnest automatic watch at 5.25mm thick.

Even without complications, the parts in an automatic winding mechanism can still significantly add to a movement's thickness.

The 1200P and 1208P maintain their thinness due to the use of a micro-rotor, a small off-centred oscillating weight instead of a traditional rotor covering at least half of the movement.

The anniversary edition comes in two versions - a white gold case with a black dial and black alligator leather strap, or a pink gold case with a blue dial and brown alligator strap.

The small seconds model comes only in a silver-coloured dial, but with a choice of a white gold case with black alligator leather strap or a pink gold case with brown alligator leather strap. L?opold-Metzger says that one of the best things about Piaget is that it consistently comes out with innovations in technology and design. 'We are a creative company,' he says.

'Some companies come out with a different coloured dial each year and say they're creative. I think that's rubbish.'

In addition to the ultra-thin models, two of the more innovative pieces this year are Piaget Altiplano novelties Double Jeu 43mm and the gem-set skeleton 40mm.

The Double Jeu is ideal for frequent travellers in that it consists of two cases, one for each time zone. The upper case, set to the time at destination, features the hour, minute and small seconds display, and opens up to reveal the lower case with a 24-hour dial showing the time at the original location.

The two ultra-thin movements (2.5mm each) allow for minimal weight and bulkiness. Piaget combined its jewellery expertise and watchmaking skills to produce the Altiplano gem-set skeleton. The ultra-thin Calibre 838P clocks in at 3.1mm thick and the hand-wound mechanical skeleton movement with small seconds is set with 174 brilliant-cut diamonds. The gem-set white-gold case and silver-coloured flange add to the carat count of 216 brilliant-cut diamonds.

Fans of Piaget's jewellery watches should be no strangers to the brand's Limelight line. The new models launched this year look to the sultry world of jazz for inspiration, and the resulting Limelight Jazz Party collection features bold black and white designs modelled after piano keys and musical notes.

Blending technical complexity with style, the Piaget Polo Tourbillon showcases a flying tourbillon, with the tourbillon carriage attached to the end of the minute hand. Instead of an hour hand, the dial features a central rotating disc that points to the hour indicators, which are designed to resemble quavers and clefs on a score.

For those who prize carat count over complications, the collection features three jewellery watches.

The first model features a thin onyx and diamond disc with a piano key design, which opens to reveal the dial with a centre paved with diamonds.

The second model also features a dial cover, which blends in with the bejewelled bracelet when closed. The third Limelight watch features two diamond-paved ellipses on the dial that spin as the wrist moves.

L?opold-Metzger says that one of the reasons Piaget chose jazz as its theme this year is because the brand has had many ties to the musical world over the years.

'We also wanted to pick something that hasn't been done before,' he says. 'And I think that we succeeded.'

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