With just 3.65mm thickness, the manual winding Altiplano Ultimate 38mm is the slimmest ultra-thin watch in the world.
This record has been achieved thanks to the fusion of case and movement, using a principle already tried and tested in watchmaking, but never successfully achieved before this particular model.
Piaget's experience in the ultra-flat field began in the 1950s with the 9P caliber, which had components so thin that it reached just 2 mm in thickness - a world record at the time. This was followed by the 12P - a 1960 2.3 mm automatic movement, which remained the thinnest automatic on the market for over 20 years.
The 900P of the Altiplano Ultimate 38mm, however, is not a direct descendant of these timepieces, but rather of two others.
In fact, it combines the idea of eliminating the plate and mounting the movement directly on the internal surface of the monobloc case, with that of pivoting the gears on ball bearings - effectively eliminating the bridges.
The first of the two solutions are encountered for the first time in 1986, in the Audemars Piguet watch, a tourbillon with automatic winding (Ref. 25643), which had a thickness of only 4.8 mm. This timepiece experimented with the engineering solution then used by Piaget - integrated movement at the bottom of the monobloc case.
The second idea, on the other hand, came from a movement also used by Piaget in the 1980s - the Lassale 1200 or Piaget 20P caliber - which was only 1.2 mm thick, thanks to the monobloc structure where the gears, hinged on 14 tiny ball bearings sphere, were fixed solely on the plate, without any bridges.
Truth be told, unfortunately this caliber had numerous functional and repair ability problems. For this reason, its technical solutions were shut in a drawer for over 50 years, until the Piaget 900P was launched at the end of 2013.
The experience accumulated by the company with the current evolution of its ultra-flat movements (which have smashed records year after year), as well as modern design methods, more precise machine tools and, above all, the use of the monobloc case as a plate, are behind the technological success of the manual winding Altiplano Ultimate 38mm, one of Piaget's most important achievements in its field of expertise - ultra-flat watchmaking.
by Dody Giussani