This Swiss Watch Celebrates Swiss Watchmakers

Johnny Davis
·3-min read
Photo credit: Piaget
Photo credit: Piaget

From Esquire

Piaget is best known for its Polo watch, produced in the Seventies as part of the brand's strategy to court upscale buyers with a sports model befitting “the most expensive watches in the world” as the company's slogan then went. A solid gold version became the ultimate playboy watch the following decade and the model has advanced since then. In 2016, a new Polo – the Piaget Polo S – introduced a new bezel shape and a more modern overall look. A fairly extraordinary Piaget Polo Skeleton was released earlier in 2021.

But Piaget has many other achievements, having been made in Switzerland since the mid-nineteenth century. It has especially excelled in making ultra-thin movements, something it started in the Twenties. In 2018, it showed off a watch it called the Altiplano Ultimate Concept. Given the “concept” name everyone assumed it was a one-off. It certainly seemed like it could never go into production. It was preposterously thin. At 2mm the whole watch was thinner than most watch movements. Piaget had to dispense with the crown altogether – too bulky. To wind it, one needed to pull out a telescopic “infinite screw” on the side. Given the technical problems that would be needed to be overcome to put it into production, it seemed like nothing more than a mad experiment. Then, two years later, in 2020, Piaget announced that it had done it. Sure, it was a price-on-request, highly-limited production situation… but given the allowance of time and money, it was theoretically possible to own the mad creation.

Photo credit: Piaget
Photo credit: Piaget

Now Piaget has released a follow-up, of sorts. This version of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept is dedicated to the Swiss Jura village of La Côte-aux-Fées. It's where Georges Edouard Piaget founded the company in 1874 and where the design, development and creation of every ultra-thin Piaget movement, not least “the thinnest watch in the world” has been carried out. The Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tribute to La Côte-aux-Fées has a bridge, screws, hands and a dial in forest green, and a matching strap in alligator leather. The green palate is said to “evoke the feeling of a typical spring or summer’s day in the hills and fields around the village that has been Piaget’s home for almost 150 years”. The main plate is engraved, “1874”.

It’s hard to think of a better example of a watch that could stand as a tribute to the ingenuity, creativity and technical chops behind the people who actually put together any mechanical watch, let alone a watch like this – each Altiplano Ultimate Concept creation is entrusted to a single watchmaker in the Côte-aux-Fées. A victory lap you can only stand back and applaud.

Price on request;

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