Fighting for the market share, the watchmaker and jeweler Piaget has employed a new tactic. The brand has introduced a collection that, while sporting the same exterior styling and being powered by the same caliber 430P movement, will differ in sizes and is going to be offered in pairs: a larger for Him and a smaller for Her. Or vice-versa: you never know these days. Now, prepare to meet the new hand-wound Piaget Altiplano 38 mm (ref. G0A36129) & 34 mm (ref. G0A36128) with full pavé dials!
As you can see in the pictures, the watches are overwhelmed with tiny diamonds. Looking like an extremely expensive frosting, hundreds of precious stones adore not only their dials but also the ultra-thin bezel. While many high-jewelry timekeepers often look too bulky and, well, unnatural, this pair is convincing enough thanks to the carefully calculated proportion between the size of the stones and dimensions of the case, crown, and hands.
Piaget has years of experience in designing watches and jewelry items, so it’s almost impossible for them to make a mistake here.
According to the company, the 38 mm version model, which is supposed to be worn by gentlemen, is adorned with 836 diamonds. The 34 mm version comes set with 669 precious stones. The greatest bulk of the diamonds went to the dial. Set in a circular motif, they count 735 and 574 stones respectively. The density of diamond-setting was so high that Piaget was even forced to print its corporate logo not on the dial itself, but on the sapphire crystal that protects the dauphine-shaped white gold hour and minute hands from abuse.
Their thin bezels are also decorated with 78 and 72 diamonds. The rest of the stones went to cover the new pin buckle that, as Piaget puts it in its press release, “picks up the bezel design.”
The Altiplano is powered by a well-known Piaget 430P ultra-thin manual-wind caliber, which is only 2.10 mm thick. Introduced in 1998 and built solely in-house, this is still one of the thinnest movements in the world.
By the way, the cal. 430P is popular among other brands that can’t afford to design and to build their own high-grade calibers (or at least calibers that are good enough to power their often outrageously overpriced ultra-luxury timekeepers.) Fashion brand Ralph Lauren, for example, uses one to power their tiny Slim Classique Square Ladies (the movement was refinished and renamed as Caliber RL430,) while jewelry maker Cartier used it as Cartier caliber 430 MC in their ultra-expensive Le Cirque Animalier de Cartier Collection that, too, was presented earlier this month at the same SIHH 2011 trade show.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Piaget Altiplano 38 mm & 34mm specification
Price: $48,000 (MSRP, ref. G0A36128 in 34mm)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber Piaget 430P, 21,600 vph, 89 parts, 18 jewels, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case: 18-karat white gold
Sizes: 38.00 mm (gents) / 34.00 mm (ladies)
Case height: 6.30 mm
Dial: Diamond-paved (735 and 574 small diamonds for 38 and 34-millimeter versions respectively)
Hands: White gold, polished
Hour markers: White gold, stick-shaped, applied
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with diamonds-set pin buckle in white gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective