Adding variety in the world of ultra-thin watchmaking is tricky. Because in this space, additional complications typically equals extra thickness — and that defeats the aim of the exercise. So instead of working on altering the mechanics, you change the aesthetics, which is just what Piaget has done here with these new additions to the Altiplano family. Before we take a closer look at those spectacular dials, a quick recap on this particular Altiplano. At 40mm across, and with a very simple, traditional round case, this watch is dressy by design. The incredible thinness of 6.5mm makes it almost unimaginable that this watch would perform any other function. The movement is quite special, the 1203P is 3mm wide, handsome, and powered by a micro-rotor that gives it up to 44 hours of go. But back to those dials. They're incredibly slender slices of meteorite, cut to reveal the distinctive and unique crystalline structure, formed over thousands of years of floating silently through space … which is wild, if you actually think about it. Out-of-this-world origin story aside, the physical look of these dials is strong (even taking that white date window into account). The patterns in the iron-nickel heavy material… Read More
Last week, Piaget opened their first ever Australian Boutique, and we were lucky enough to attend the opening. Piaget has joined several of their Richemont cohort, including Cartier, Montblanc and Panerai, at Melbourne's iconic Chadstone Shopping Centre. The upscale apartment vibe provides a more relaxed approach to retail, with nice design touches, like informal seating options. The overall atmosphere is inviting and intimate rather than stuffy. As Gaspard Barthelemy, Brand Manager Piaget Australia, walked me through the store, he excitedly showed off the extensive range of novelty pieces and high jewellery watches on display. From your standard stainless steel Polo S Watch to Tourbillons to Ultra-thin Altiplano Gem-set pieces (there's 259 brilliant-cut diamonds and 78 baguette-cut diamonds), the new store is well-stocked, colourful and full of variety. My pick of the night? Aside from a stunning iced-out Altiplano Gem-set Skeleton watch on Gaspard's wrist, I'd take the Polo S Watch in rose gold. The contrasting blue alligator strap and fresh white dial really makes for a beautiful combination — and a fantastic summer look as we enter the Australian summer. And, don't worry: this particular watch comes with an additional brown mahogany strap — perfect for those on the other side of the world entering winter. For… Read More
This week on the wrist is borne almost purely out of curiosity. I have tried on Piaget Altiplano watches over the years and found them unusually comfortable to wear. In interviews and conversations with Altiplano owners, there's always a resounding refrain of "it's hard to go back to heavier/larger/thicker watches once you get used to it". So, when given the chance to have an extended period of time with the Ultra-Thin date in rose gold, I jumped at it. My first impression was… That it's a clean, deeply stylish statement, and that I might need a new wardrobe. A watch this slight and minimal seems to draw a lot more attention to the wrist, and the cuff, and the accessories that are being worn with it. While it's saying very few words, they're all well chosen, and they're all expensive. Good luck dressing down this quiet achiever. Once I put it on, it felt… Hey, wait, is this thing actually on? Any heft you associate with gold does not exactly apply. While this Altiplano model is indeed pink gold, it is extremely light, and the comfort Altiplano wearers swear by is in full effect. Looks-wise… It's minimal and mercurial. Having said that, it's very… Read More
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