Piaget is not a brand I have a great deal of interest in but I must admit the newly announced Altiplano Chronograph has definitely caught my attention.
The Altiplano Chronograph
The reason for this is fairly simple; when it’s officially launched at SIHH 2015 in January, the Altiplano Chronograph will become the thinnest hand-wound chronograph available. Now given Piaget’s track record with ultra-thin watches (like the Altiplano 900P the brand released last year), this announcement shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Still, it doesn’t make the achievement any less impressive.
Presented in a nicely sized 41mm case that measures just 8.24mm thick, the Altiplano Chronograph will initially be available in your choice of pink or white gold. It’s not clear whether a steel version will be offered at a later date however given the extreme simplicity of the design I’m not even sure if I would want that as an option. As is stands my personal preference is the pink gold version as it brings some much needed color and contrast to this otherwise very subdued timekeeper.
As you can see in the pictures the design of the Altiplano Chronograph’s dial is consistent with the style of other models in the Altiplano range. Simple black indices stand out against a silvery white backdrop, with three sub-registers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively.
Despite this minimalist approach however it still feels like the space is a bit crowded, with each sub-register almost infringing on the area allocated to its neighbour. This is the trade-off however for having a slightly smaller case diameter and to be fair the clear font used ensures there are no issues with legibility.
If you look a little closer you will notice that only two of the registers are actually for the chronograph. The third counter – at 9 o’clock – is actually a 24 hour display for the second time zone, a handy added feature that you wouldn’t normally expect in a watch like the Altiplano Chronograph.
The real story here of course though is the hand-wound calibre 883P, which has been stretched, starved and beaten down to a mere thickness of just 4.65 mm. Somehow however Piaget’s engineers have still managed to incorporate a column wheel and vertical clutch for the chronograph, as well as a flyback function.
Add to that a 50 hour power reserve and it becomes clear that the Altiplano Chronograph is no ordinary dress watch. The only thing for missing for me though is a power reserve indicator, which would have been incredibly useful although maybe not practical given the space constraints.
Pricing for the rose gold version will be US$29,000 and I imagine it will be available in stores toward the back end of 2015.
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