Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) has moved online and Baselworld 2020 is canceled, but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. Stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases here.
Piaget is a company that decided upon a niche way back in 1957 and stuck to it: they makes the world’s thinnest mechanical watches.
The Altiplano Ultimate Concept, which we reported on back at SIHH in 2018, became the world’s thinnest watch at just 2mm, which includes the case. But back then it was just a concept watch and not ready for its time in the limelight as a serial production model. Well, all that has now changed.
Finally, at the end of a six-year R&D cycle, the AUC is ready for wearing. Piaget largely had to throw out the rulebook governing how a wristwatch is traditionally made in order to bring the Concept to fruition: the old multi-part construction including case back and case, movement, dial, hands and crystal was jettisoned in favor something significantly more sophisticated, svelte — and difficult to execute.
In the AUC, the case back functions doubly as the movement’s mainplate. Constructed from a special cobalt-based alloy that’s 2.3 times stronger than gold, it’s very, very difficult to machine. The movement’s wheels are just 0.12mm thick and the sapphire crystal an unreal 0.2mm thick. The mainspring barrel, despite having been entirely reengineered to sit on a single ceramic ball bearing, still provides the watch with 40 hours of power reserve.
Everything is, quite simply, an exercise in the utmost form of economy: The crown features a specially designed winding tool and sits perfectly flush with the watch’s case. The dial, not being centered, requires a special winding stem. The watch case itself is only 0.12mm thick. The design required five different patents be registered — we could go on.
We’ll go on. Incredibly, given Piaget’s comfort with semi-bespoke watchmaking (their “Style Selector” was introduced at the brand’s New York boutique over 50 years ago), you can completely customize your AUC. Choose the color of the bridge and dial, the finish of the hands and main plate, and pair it with a strap of your choice. There are more than 10,000 possible permutations of the AUC available.
Check out Piaget’s site to lear more about this unbelievable watch — pricing is available upon request.
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