Piaget’s pioneering Altiplano has been impressing since 1957, and given that watch brands love nothing more than an anniversary, we were expecting plenty of that barely-there silhouette in the collection at SIHH. And that’s fair enough, when you consider that, 60 years on, mechanical watches still don’t come any slimmer than the Altiplano. Even so, we weren’t quite prepared for just how stunning the new special editions are, with colourful, shimmering dials that really blew us away. Oh, and Piaget also snuck in a stealthy new black Polo S as well. The only question remaining is, would I rock this diamond-encrusted tourbillon?
This year Piaget celebrates 60 years of the ground-breaking Altiplano. Released in 1957, the original model was the perfect vehicle for the revolutionary 2mm thin 9P, which went on to become the gold standard for reliable, elegant, ultra-thin movements. Over the decades, there’s been a clear evolution of the Altiplano (which was named after a high-altitude plateau in the Andes, by the way). Key releases include the 1960 automatic version (calibre 12P), and in 2013 the 900P, the world’s thinnest mechanical watch, measuring 3.65mm, followed two years later by the Altiplano Chronograph which added complication to the equation while still measuring in at a comparatively slight 8.24mm. It’s no wonder the Geneva-based brand has become famous for its slender movements. While these are great examples of the Altiplano pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, it’s also important to remember that a large part of its appeal is the ultra-thin aesthetic – which is where the new collection really shines. The 40mm golden trio is a marvel to behold. Powered by the svelte micro-rotor equipped 1203P, there’s a lot to love mechanically-speaking. Still, what really lights up these watches is the dials, offered in vibrant green and yellow gold, blue and pink gold, or a smoky grey cased in white… Read More
Though Piaget has made a lot of noise in the past 12 months with the sporty steel Polo S, the undeniable heart of the collection is the ultra-slim and ultra-sexy Altiplano. Born in 1957 and named for the flat South American high plains, the Altiplano and the legendary caliber 9P that powered it, have become synonymous with thin. This year marks the collection’s 60th anniversary, and to celebrate Piaget has released two limited editions in white gold that speak to the model’s rich heritage. Today we’re looking at the larger 43mm automatic version, though there’s also a manually wound 38mm option. For a watch that slides under the cuff at a mere 5.25mm thin (and a movement that’s less than half that, at 2.35mm), this Altiplano has ample presence on the wrist. Basically, that’s because this watch is all dial. It’s a blue sunburst, which – as you can see from these pictures – shifts from cool grey to far richer tones, depending on the light. Aside from the colour, the dial is an exercise in pure design, with long white gold indices and matching hands. Somehow the elegant printed dial text and pale blue cross hair (another nice nod to… Read More
You never know who you’re going to bump into in the halls of a watch fair like SIHH. Apart from when you get a tipoff in your schedule that a celebrity will be at a booth at a certain time, and you get there early with your cameraman to make sure you make something happen. Unfortunately in this case the chat was off camera, but the quotes were real. Here are five things you almost certainly (apart from you crazy Ryan and Deadpool fans) didn’t know about Ryan Reynolds on the subject of watches. 5 things you probably didn’t know about Ryan Reynolds and his watches He had a smart watch, but he accidentally smashed it on a wall. Smart watches, says Reynolds, are for “counting calories” and that’s it. He was handed down his grandfather’s watch, which was issued to him as a solder in a World War 2. He says it has a mystical air. He has his daughter’s initials engraved on his watch. His daughter’s name is James Reynolds. He has a criteria for all watches that he buys. They must tick the following boxes: timeless, elegant, functional and flexible. What on earth is SIHH? (The Salon International de la… Read More
Coming face-to-face with an award-winner can be nerve-wracking. When you’ve watched from afar, seen photographs, read reviews, you’re always curious to know whether things will live up to the hype. These days, after all, it’s spin that makes the world go round. So, yes, the preamble to meeting Piaget’s pink gold Limelight Gala, complete with Milanese bracelet, was understandably tense. This was just a couple of weeks after it had won the ladies’ watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) – what if, away from her wintry hemisphere of choice, she wilted under the harsh Australian sun? What if, in this chaotic, exhausting lead-up to Christmas, I mis-shuffled my facial expressions, and instead of a ‘Wow’ dealt out a yawn? I needn’t have worried. She may have been a long way from her Swiss home, but as with all the true divas, there were no signs of jet lag. She was golden. And I don’t merely mean ‘made of gold’ – even though that’s true: 18k pink gold. I’m talking about a radiance that somehow goes beyond the material. Golden like sun-kissed sand. Like maple syrup. Like the light just before sunset on a summer’s evening. Too poetic?… Read More
When we reviewed the Polo S we were struck by its by its sartorial versatility. To prove our point we looked to Piaget’s own ‘game changers’ – their take on ambassadors – all of whom have completely different personal styles, but who wear the absolute hell out of it, changing its character with their own swag. From Playboy, to nighthawk to black tie and beyond, it’s all here. Bar one. The only look not covered, sadly, given the cocktail dress code of the launch event, is a polo. We’ll have to test that out ourselves and let you know. Look #1 – The Playboy – Nacho Figueras Argentinian polo player Nacho Figueras epitomises the devil-may-care playboy, the silver-dialled Polo S on one arm is the perfect complement to his casually unbuttoned pale blue shirt (with bonus chest hair). His stunning wife Delfina Blaquier on the other arm seals the deal. Look #2 – The 21st Century Flâneur – Hu Ge We suspect Hu Ge’s effortlessly chic monochrome ensemble is the result of a lot of careful thought and consideration. However that casual geometry paired with those boxy trousers is a strong look. And it’s hard to tell because of the lights,… Read More
The story in a second Piaget’s move into the high-end steel sports market surprised many – but how does the Polo S hold up under close inspection? The Polo S caused quite a fuss when it was released. Not only was this steel sports watch far from what most people expect from the reserved Genevan brand, they also released it at a star-studded launch party in Brooklyn – the sort of event you’d expect from the likes of IWC and JLC. And finally there was the style of the watch. Many people in the watch community quickly noted its resemblance to similarly high-end steel sports watches, such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Aquanaut, and to a lesser extent the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Girard-Perregaux Laureato. But cut away all the drama around the release and what do you have? Well, not to give the game away, but you have a watch to be taken seriously. The backstory Piaget first introduced the Polo back in 1979 and, much like the Nautilus, Royal Oak et al, it was very much an ‘of the time’ design with bold vertical stripes bisecting the case and bracelet. Fast forward to 2009 and the Polo… Read More