This year, the Swiss brand exceled itself, presenting the thinnest mechanical watch with a manual winding. With a 41-mm case, the new Atiplano model has an incredible thickness of only 2 millimeters. Despite the size and low number of components, the operating range is 44 hours. Even though it’s just a prototype, Piaget has demonstrated with this specimen that he is the undisputed master of ultra-flat parts.
To give birth to this masterful demonstration of Piaget’s supremacy in the realm of ultra-thin horology, the Manufacture tasked its R&D team with achieving a simple and yet difficult goal: making the construction as compact as possible so as to reduce its thickness to the limits of feasibility, while making no concessions in terms of its reliability and aesthetic appeal.
The model picks up the “2 in 1” structure characterising the Altiplano Ultimate collection that erases the distinction between movement and watch exterior, since the case is both an exterior component and the movement baseplate. All the elements of the calibre and case have been rethought, designed and developed with a view to achieving extreme slimness, with some wheels measuring just 0.12mm thick (compared with 0.20mm on a traditional movement).
At 9 o’clock, mounted on a ball-bearing mechanism fitted directly on the frame, the construction of the regulating organ has been entirely redesigned.
At 6 o’clock, the innovatively designed barrel also features a special and distinctive construction. It has no cover and no drum. The ballbearing-mounted mainspring is directly integrated within the frame.
At 3 o’clock, the control device has also been revisited. Its design enables selective control of a time-setting and winding device or of any other mechanism relating to a function, such as a date or moon-phase corrector that might in due course be added to this type of construction.
Replacing the usual kind of crown and thus avoiding any protuberance on the side, a flat-shaped “telescopic” crown is recessed into the caseband and secured to the stem via a spring clip. This construction ensures the crown is perfectly integrated within the caseband and protects it from any improper handling or impacts that might damage the movement.
Finally, while the thickness of the watch crystal is reduced to an absolute minimum (0.2mm), it must nonetheless meet the modern criteria of shock resistance and water resistance (3 ATM).