We thought we would continue the tourbillon theme of the last post, only in today’s case, it is a triumvirate that are radically different in approach and design to the Corum LAB 02.
January’s announcement by Piaget that their Ultimate Concept is now a (albeit highly limited) production model may well already been one of this year’s highlights, but that doesn’t mean that the Altiplano collection is done and dusted for the year.
Now, they have launched the new Altiplano Flying Tourbillon Infinite Blue Collection, consisting of three models in 18 kt white gold 41mm-sized cases, all of which feature a flying tourbillon, dials and cases set with diamonds, and come on blue alligator straps.
The Calibre 9P, the first ultra-thin hand-wound movement made by Piaget in 1957 that started it (meaning the ultra thins) all, was 2mm thick. This is also the entire thickness of the new production model Altiplano Ultimate Concept. Since then, of the 35 calibres that they have developed in their manufacture, a significant 23 of them have been ultra-thin, of which some dozen have been record-setting.
In 2017, Piaget celebrated sixty years of the ultra-thin movement with the Altiplano Flying Tourbillon. This watch featured an off-centred dial with the time at eight o’clock and the tourbillon at two o’clock and consisted of 157 parts, including components as thin as a human hair, and three titanium bridges weighing 0.2g. It also holds a patent for its stem mechanism, featuring an intermediate wheel shaped like a staircase for time setting of the off-centred dial.
The new Altiplano Flying Tourbillon Infinite Blue Collection goes one step further from a decorative perspective, featuring dials in the deep blue for which Piaget are known. The three dials highlight a gem-set infinity symbol motif (created and set in their Ateliers de l’Extraordinaire) that loops around the tourbillon carriage and time dial. To my eye at least, the addition of this motif makes these new pieces considerably more attractive than the 2017 piece, and the use of diamonds to depict the infinity symbol seems to work really well as both a balance to the diamond-set bezels, and in terms of giving some ‘solidity’ as it were, to the symbol itself. The stones seem to be an important part of the design and quite naturally incorporated into it, rather than an ‘add on’.
The most ‘low key’ model is the numbered 38 piece limited edition Altiplano Tourbillon Infinite Blue featuring a blue sunburst PVD dial, with an infinity diamond motif. The case is set with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.44 carats), the dial with 50 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.70 ct), crown with a brilliant-cut diamond (approx. 0.09 ct), and the buckle has 24 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.05 ct).
The second Piaget Altiplano Tourbillon Infinite Blue is limited to 18 numbered pieces and the infinity theme becomes a stylised part of the dial, which features diamond swirls. This eye-catching piece has 72 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.61 carats) set in the case, a dial with 179 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.64 carats), a crown with a brilliant-cut diamond (approx. 0.09 carat), and the buckle with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.05 carat).
Lastly, in a numbered limited edition of eight pieces, we have the same blue sunburst PVD dial as the first mentioned model, but this time with the white gold case with 48 baguette-cut diamonds (approx. 2.51 carats), a dial featuring 48 baguette-cut diamonds (approx. 0.96 carats), a brilliant cut diamond (approx. 0.05 carat) in the crown, and the buckle set with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.05 carat).
All of these new models have a sapphire case back through which you can see the manual-wind Calibre 670P which has a thickness of 4.6mm, beats at 21,600 VPH, and has a power reserve of 48 hours. The movement features a main plate and bridges that are hand bevelled and circular grained, and Côtes de Genève.
[Photo credit: Piaget]