The Swiss watchmaking brand is well-known among true connoisseurs for its extensive collection of ultra-thin automatic calibers. Built exclusively in-house (unlike many established watchmaking brands, Piaget has enough spare capacity even to sell their calibers to third-party brands who can’t afford making their own movements,) their mechanisms feature the level of craftsmanship that is out of reach to nine out of ten brands that are often considered “high-end” by general public. Entering the business of hairbreadth-thin movements in 1957, the manufacture continues its journey with the new Piaget Altiplano (ref. G0A38130) automatic wristwatch, which is presented in a white gold case and is powered by their newest Calibre 1208P self-winding movement that features their signature off-centered micro-rotor with gold oscillating weight.
Being only 2.35 mm thick (actually, not much thicker than some modern coins,) the movement is almost 30 millimeters in diameter (perhaps, Piaget’s engineers needed more real estate not only for the micro-rotor, which is made of heavier 22-carat yellow gold alloy, but also for other elements that would otherwise be stacked vertically.)
Of course, the movement is not so large as to demand such an impressively oversized case whole 43 millimeters in diameter. Perhaps, the Swiss engineers deliberately increased the body’s width in order to change the timekeeper’s proportions making its 5.25 mm of thickness look like the sharp edge of a razor blade.
Also, the increased dimensions of the case allowed for a larger dial that now has enough breathing space to nicely position the small seconds indicator without making the minimalistic dial look unnecessarily cluttered.
Traditionally, all three hands are stick-shaped, as are the hour markers, and lack any amount of luminous substance whatsoever. However, being essentially a dress watch, the Piaget Altiplano doesn’t really need nighttime legibility. It is not a pilot’s watch, after all.
Although in its press release Piaget calls its new movement “the thinnest” on the market and uses the word “record” six times, I may remind you that the Calibre 1208P in only 0.1mm thinner than Audemars Piguet’s Calibre 2120/2802 self-winding movement with its full-fledged perpetual calendar complication.
The Piaget Altiplano can only display hours, minutes and seconds.
Well, at least it will be much less expensive, I suppose*.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
UPDATE ON PRICING: Well, it is less expensive, but something tells me that it still dramatically out of reach for an average watch enthusiast. It is reported that Piaget Altiplano in a white gold case (ref. G0A38130) will be offered at a recommended retail price of $24,500, which makes it about four times less expensive than the aforementioned Audemars Piguet model, but, again, not quite affordable even considering its industry-leading thinness and the level of craftsmanship that it offers.
Piaget Altiplano (ref. G0A38130) automatic ultra-thin watch specification
Price range: $24,500 (MSRP, ref. G0A38130 in 18-carat white gold)
Movement: Calibre 1208P, in-house, automatic, 21,600 vph, ultra-thin, micro-rotor design, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, off-centered small seconds
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case material: 18-carat white gold
Bezel material: / 18-carat white gold
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire glass
Case size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 5.25 mm
Dial: Silvered, stick-shaped
Strap: Black authentic leather with steel tang buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective