At SIHH 2011, a major industry event that took place just over a month ago, the renowned Swiss watch Manufacture presented a number of great ultra-thin watches, but the list would not be complete without the tasteful Piaget Altiplano (Ref. G0A36118) ladies wristwatch in rose gold and diamonds.
Style-wise, the new model is easily recognizable: it takes just a quick glance to notice the signature baton-shaped hands and hour markers, as well at the blade-thin profile of the watch.
Piaget is well-known for its expertise in developing and manufacturing ultra-thin movements and the still-fresh Caliber 838P hand-wound movement that was revealed last year at SIHH 2010 event is no exception here. Being only 2.50 mm thick, the movement still stores enough energy for the watch to function for at least 62 hours after being fully wound. Its tinfoil-thin bridges are bevelled and even decorated with circular Cotes de Geneve motif. The mainplate, which is, too, almost paper-thin, is circular-grained: also a very nice and tasteful touch.
It would be a waste of a gorgeous caliber to just throw into a traditional case and Piaget’s designers probably though the same making the 40 millimeter body just a hair over 6.90 mm from sapphire top to sapphire bottom.
No, it’s not the thinnest hand-wound on Earth, but they came very close to it while making it exceptionally attractive in the process: a 40mm device that would look chunky and heavy if powered by a normal ETA-sourced caliber, looks absolutely mesmerizing with its actual proportions.
The whole idea of thinness is nicely supported by needle-thin pointers and, of course, very finely printed hour markers on the chapter ring and small Arabic numerals on the small seconds indicator. The numerals, by the way, are printed using a well-chosen sans-serife typeface: slightly elongated, they work extremely good with other printed elements of the dial (although they slightly clash with the font of the “Piaget” inscription at 3 o’clock.)
As usual, the Piaget Altiplano features an off-centered small seconds indicator, which is located at 10 o’clock and sports a “split” chapter ring with the 60-30 half located on the inner part of the slightly embossed sub-dial and the 35-55 part on the outer part.
The design not only makes the dial deliciously unbalanced, but also somehow makes the whole sub-dial visually lighter thanks to a lot more air “flowing” around the digits.
While definitely dressy with all those precious stones and precious alloys, this watch somehow manages not to overdo with the blingy stuff: the only part of the timepiece, which is decorated with gems is the thin rose gold bezel. It is skillfully set with 72 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling at around 1 carat.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Piaget Altiplano hand-wound ladies watch in rose gold and diamonds (Ref. G0A36118) specification
Price: $26,600 (MSRP)
Movement: Manual (hand-wound,) Caliber 838P, 26.80 mm in diameter, 2.50 mm in height, in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Movement decoration: Bridges bevelled and adorned with circular Cotes de Geneve, circular-grained mainplate, blued screws
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 62 hours
Case material: Rose gold
Bezel material: Rose gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 6.90 mm
Hour markers: Black, stick-shaped, printed
Hands: Steel, stick-shaped, blacked-out
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Brown alligator strap with a rose gold buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating on both sides
Case back: Sapphire