Slim is in: the enduring reign of ultra-thin watches

Ultra-thin watches pack timeless elegance and extraordinary horological expertise into areas the size and thickness of a coin. 

Vacheron Constantin Ultra-fine 1955

The less-is-more philosophy is a welcome change to some of the busy, chunky action models of late, which sit on the wrist like a hockey puck. The reign of refined ultra-thin watches is very much in vogue as brands throw down the gauntlet in the battle for slim. Far less likely to succumb to the ravages of passing trends, the appeal of ultra-slim watches is timeless and a testament to the extraordinary miniaturisation skills of the watchmakers, who find ways of cramming tiny pieces into areas the size and thickness of a coin. The other beauty of ultra-thin watches is that they swing both ways, appealing to men and women alike.

Historiques Ultra-fine 1955 watch
Housed in a 36mm platinum case measuring just 4.13mm thick, the dial of Vacheron Constantin’s Ultra-fine 1955 watch is a study in restraint and elegant minimalism (£29,900).

One of the thinnest watches on the market in its day was Vacheron Constantin’s Ultra-fine 1955 watch. As part of the brand’s Historiques collection, the Ultra-fine 1955 has been revisited, much to the delight of collectors. Housed in a 36mm platinum case measuring just 4.13mm thick, the dial of this watch is a study in restraint and elegant minimalism. What is even more restrained, however, is the diminutive space into which the 117 components of the movement have been arranged. Like its venerable lithe ancestor, the manual-winding movement of the revisited Ultra-fine 1955 watch is just 1.64mm thick (that’s thinner than the thickness of an American quarter or a five pence British coin).

Altiplano 38mm 900D watch
Famous for its lean machines since the mid 1950s, Piaget has just set a new record for the world’s thinnest high jewellery watch with an openworked dial and 5.77 carats of diamonds (€139,000).

When it comes to slim, Piaget watches are the reference. Famous for its lean machines since the mid-1950s, Piaget has just set a new record for the world’s thinnest high jewellery watch.  What makes Piaget so special is the exceptional jewellery expertise the Maison invests in its high jewellery men’s and women’s timepieces, as in the case of this absolutely dazzling work of art. Measuring a slender 5.60mm in height, its 38mm white gold case frames a fully set dial that sparkles with the light of white diamonds. And it’s not just the conventional use of diamonds to decorate the bezel and lugs but diamonds set through to the very heart of the openworked movement. Adorned with 5.77 carats of diamonds, even the mainplate and bridges of the ultra-thin hand-wound movement feature brilliant and snow-set diamonds.

Luminor Due 42mm watch in red gold
Panerai has succumbed to the joys of a smaller girth and has slimmed down the thickness of its iconic Luminor watch with the new Luminor Due collection (£16,600).

Diametrically opposed to Piaget is the cult brand Panerai, renowned for its brawny XXL diving watches, originally created for the Italian Navy’s underwater stealth operations. Proving once again that thin is always in, even Panerai watches have succumbed to the joys of a smaller girth and slimmed down the height of its iconic Luminor watch in this new Luminor Due collection. Without betraying a single trait of its legendary 1950 Luminor ancestor - complete with the protective crown bridge, the cut-out numerals and indices, the small seconds counter at 9 o’clock and the hallmark luminosity of Panerai watches - the new Luminor Due models come in gold or steel cases whittled down to a height of just over 10.5mm, making the smaller 42mm a very attractive and viable option for both sexes.

Saxonia Thin 37mm watch in pink gold
A. Lange & Söhne’s new Saxonia Thin collection comes in two shades of gold and two sizes (£11,500 and £17,700.)

The Saxonia line was launched by A. Lange & Söhne watches as a tribute to the homeland of this prestigious brand in Saxony, Germany. Celebrating the very German values of pragmatism and quality, the Saxonia family has become a contemporary classic. The new Saxonia Thin collection is presented in pink or white gold cases with a thickness of 5.9mm. Graceful, sober and exquisitely finished, this elegant ultra-slim model comes in two sizes, 37 and 40mm, once again suited to both women’s and men’s wrists. 


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