By Rebecca Doulton
When it comes to thin, Piaget watches are king. Ever since 1957, when the company created the world's thinnest mechanical movement known as calibre 9P, with a thickness of only 2mm, Piaget has consolidated a reputation as a watchmaker of lean horological machines and secured 14 world records for its ultra-thin movements.
The ultra-thin Piaget Altiplano watch family has decided to expand its functions and incorporated a chronograph complication into its hallmark svelte cases. Due to the complex movement required for measuring elapsed time, most chronograph complications tend to be housed in very large and thick cases; the new Piaget Altiplano Chronograph changes this concept radically.
Understated, elegant and contemporary, the case of the Piaget Altiplano Chronograph measures just 8.24mm thanks to a wafer-thin 4.65mm movement, which gives life to the hand-wound flyback chronograph. Both measurements, for the case and the movement, are new world records and the result of two intense years of R&D. Calibre 883P, with a robust power reserve of 50 hours, is the sophisticated engine behind the action on the dial, which includes the flyback function.
Read about Piaget in our iconic watches for men
A flyback chronograph is more sophisticated than a standard chronograph because it eliminates superfluous operations by allowing the elapsed seconds hand to be stopped, returned to zero and restarted with a single pusher. Conventional chronographs require three steps: one to stop the chronograph hand; another to reset the hand to zero; and a third to restart the timing process.
The 41mm case of the new Piaget Altiplano Chronograph, which will be available in rose or white gold, features two elongated chronograph pushers on the flange, which blend seamlessly into the curves of the case, unlike most pushers, which tend to protrude and end up scuffing the cuffs of your shirt. The deceptively simple white dial, with chronograph counters that do not interfere with the overall purity of the watch, shows how a chronograph complication can also double up as a handsome dress watch.
Seeing is believing with all of the ultra-thin Piaget watches, and sceptics at the SIHH in Geneva later this month - where this watch is set to be officially unveiled - will be invited to flip over the case and take a look at the complex orchestration of the 240 different components visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.