First introduced in 1957, Piaget continues to toast the heritage of its ultra-thin Altiplano model with a new limited edition pocket watch.
By Sarah Jordan
Luxury watch brands have the uncanny ability to transform a humble anniversary into a 12-month affair, complete with a slew of new releases, limited editions and, undoubtedly, a few celebrity smiles in the direction of a waiting camera. Of course, we’re not complaining, especially when the anniversary in question is the 60th year of Piaget’s ultra-thin Altiplano. In any discussion of the science of slimmed-down watchmaking, the Altiplano has pride of place. Read here about how Piaget changed the game with the 900P back in 2014.
Piaget kick-started its ‘Year of the Altiplano’ at SIHH, introducing a selection of new models including limited edition dark blue dials, the first Altiplano tourbillon and brightly coloured ladies’ and men’s variations. Now, the brand has added to its line-up with the Altiplano 60th Anniversary Pocket Watch, featuring its ‘Piaget Automatique’ moniker at the 12 o’clock – the original inscription on the first ultra-thin Altiplano.
Set on a white gold and blue calfskin string to match its dial (wouldn’t you prefer a chain, if you were actually going to use it though?), the new Pocket Watch is limited to 26-pieces, and is geared largely towards collectors. With this in mind, there’s a specially-designed marquetry stand allowing for the piece to be displayed as a table clock. The Altiplano 60th Anniversary Pocket Watch doesn’t stray far from the original design of the 1957 model, which included a sunburst dial, white gold slim single hour-markers and the slim baton-type hands now typical of the entire range. Then there’s the thin, lighter blue cross – used in the earliest versions of the Altiplano – that adds an ever-so-slight bullseye effect to the centre of the dial.
Inside the 50mm case is the ultra-slim self-winding mechanical 1200P movement that’s just 2.35mm thick. Visible through the sapphire crystal case back, you can see the circular Côtes de Genève finish, bevelled bridges, circular-grained mainplate and blued screws, plus 25 jewels. It also boasts a 44 hour power reserve.
Overall, the Altiplano 60th Anniversary Pocket Watch is a neat reinvention of the traditional Altiplano, albeit a safe one. Although, with the famously irreverent Ryan Reynolds as brand ambassador, there’s the hint that mingled with Piaget’s haute horlogerie is a sense of humour. Making this balance work for another 60-years would be an anniversary worth celebrating.