In the Alfred Hitchcock classic North by Northwest (1959), when Cary Grant
makes a note to himself to think thin, all he really needs is a Piaget Altiplano.
Indeed, the always debonair Grant would be the perfect gentleman to sport
the ultra-thin watch. Given that Piaget's important and groundbreaking ultra-thin
movement 9P and 12P debuted in the 1950s, Grant's suave and witty international
man of leisure and means image would have been perfect for the Altiplano – and
vice versa of course.
Piaget is today universally celebrated for its expertise in all
things ultra-thin and ultra chic. If you return to the time when Grant was
top dog in Hollywood, you will find that the exact moment this expertise
was confirmed was in 1957, in the firm's atelier in La Côte-aux-Fées, when
the watchmakers revealed calibre 9P, a manual winding movement of excellent
quality. They followed this up with the calibre 12P, which was a first amongst
equals and the champion of thinness in mechanical movements. More than 50
years ago, in 1960, calibre 12P was the world's thinnest self-winding mechanical
Today, Piaget has once more taken the crown for the slimmest self-winding
mechanical movement with calibre 1200P. The movement was previewed in 2009
and unveiled to the world in 2010 to mark the 50th anniversary of its forebear,
calibre 12P. At just 2.35mm the movement incorporates many small – no pun
intended – innovations to arrive at its desired thinness. For example, the
gear trains of the 1200P are only 0.12mm thick as opposed to the normal 0.2mm.
This brings us to the watch of the hour, so to speak, the Altiplano 43mm in
two versions: the 43mm Anniversary Edition with Calibre 1200P and the 43mm
with Calibre 1208P. The anniversary edition arrived at the SIHH with two
records: it boasts the world's thinnest automatic movement at 2.35mm (calibre
1208P is also 2.35mm thick) and is the world's thinnest mechanical automatic
watch at 5.25mm. The anniversary edition is available in a limited edition
of 235, in honor of its world record thinness.