Now Reading
The World’s Thinnest Tourbillon Watch: Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th Anniversary

The World’s Thinnest Tourbillon Watch: Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th Anniversary


When Piaget presented the world’s thinnest watch, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, six years ago, it showed the world exactly what masterful, high-precision work can look like. With the invention of the caliber 9P, Piaget can already draw on 67 years of experience in the manufacturing of ultra-thin movements. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, the brand has now outdone itself once again. The limited-edition Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th Anniversary integrates a complex peripheral tourbillon at just 2 mm and is the worlds thinnest tourbillon watch.

The case of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th Anniversary

Cobalt has the right thinness to hardness ratio to build a case as slim as that of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th Anniversary with a diameter of 41.5 mm and a height of 2 mm. Therefore, Piaget decided to create a case made of a blue PVD-treated cobalt alloy. The case creates a simple but effective contrast to the exposed components of the movement. Meanwhile, the anti-reflective sapphire crystal represents another innovation by protecting the timepiece with a thickness of just 0.20 mm on the watch’s front and 0.16 mm on its back.

Another unique feature is that the caseback also functions as the movement’s mainplate. This design enables the accommodation of as many high-performing components as possible within this limited space. As with the 900P calibre, the transition between the case and movement is meant to be seamless. Other components of the movement are visible through an aperture. The crown is integrated into the case band to save as much space as possible. It can be pulled out and operated using a stylus, which also serves as a tool to return energy to the mainspring barrel by means of a gear reduction and torque control system.

The dial of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th Anniversary

The movement components, including the tourbillon, take centre stage in this special timepiece. Together with the dial, they create an elegant colour scheme of blue, gold and silver in circular shapes. Through its slightly off-centre position on the dial’s upper half, the hour and minute dial sets the stage for the movement. It features polished, rounded baton indices for the hours and dots to indicate the minutes. Baton-shaped hands indicate the hours and minutes. The small seconds, however, is engraved around the tourbillon ring, which is located at 10 o’clock.

An ultra-thin masterpiece

Over at the manufacture in La Côte-aux-Fées, the Piaget team worked for three years to accomplish this ultra-thin masterpiece. After more than seventy designs for the tourbillon cage, fifteen for the anchor and thirty for the case, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th is the final result of a challenging process. As CEO Benjamin Comar notes, ‘We did far more than merely add a tourbillon. We reinvented everything’. The movement was not simply taken from the Altiplano Ultimate Concept and added in. Rather, more than 90 percent of it had to be newly developed and the machines required for an implementation to the exact micrometre had to be specially manufactured.

The calibre 970P-UC

With the calibres 9P, 12P, 900P and 910 P (with the latter two built into the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic), Piaget already has a significant number of ultra-thin movements in its portfolio. The hand-wound calibre 970P-UC is a new, complex addition. It has a power reserve of 40 hours and beats at a frequency of 4 Hz.

The centre-piece: a peripheral tourbillon

The peripheral tourbillon at 10 o’clock is largely made of titanium and completes one rotation per minute. A ceramic ball bearing on its outer edge reduces friction and a skeletonised barrel provides the necessary energy, which is up to 25 percent higher than that of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept. The latter has a cross-hair design, echoing the aesthetics of the original Altiplano. To ensure an energy supply despite the higher energy consumption in such a confined space, the thickness of the customised mainspring’s blade has been slightly increased based on its most force-bearing factor.

The machining of all other components also requires the highest accuracy of two thousandths of a millimetre. For example, the rim of the balance wheel can only be 0.2 mm thick due to its height. In addition, the four-armed wheels are diamond-polished and bevelled by hand and cannot be deformed during the decoration process.

Strap, price and availability

The Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon 150th Anniversary comes with a matching dark blue calfskin-strap with a 3D-printed maille polonaise mesh motif printed onto the leather and a pin buckle made of cobalt alloy. For a greater variety, an additional strap with golden stitches will also be provided. As it takes a year to produce this ultra-thin timepiece, this is a limited edition. The watch is available for a price of around 600,000 Swiss francs.