Published in: February 2011 Features > Time to Think Thin (Page 1 / 3)

Time to Think Thin

The new Piaget Altiplano collection includes the world's thinnest automatic watch and the world's thinnest automatic movement. It also features a couple of watches that put new and interesting faces on time, literally

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 movement.

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.