Georges Edouard Piaget started his first workshop on his family’s farm in the Swiss village of La Cote-aux-Fees, in 1874. It was in this workshop that he began creating high-precision movements for prestigious watch companies, and it was in this way that his business developed, quite quickly. His son, Timothee, took over the business in 1911; and it was at that time that the company began producing wrist watches – branching out from the movements that it had been producing, since its’ inception. Gerald and Valentin (Georges’ grandsons) registered (and trademarked) the brand in 1943, when they started producing their own creations – as they’ve done ever since. It was as a result of this change that they opened a new factory in 1945, in the firm’s home village of La Cote-aux-Fees. Another member of the founding family, Yves, has been the president of the company since 1980. The brand’s headquarters is now in Geneva, Switzerland; with its’ parent company being luxury goods specialists, the Swiss Richemont group (since they purchased the company, in 1988).
The Altiplano collection is a series of ultra-thin timepieces that includes some with quartz and some with mechanical movements. The thinnest offering in this line (23rd in the line) – the Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P – is actually the thinnest watch in the world, at 3.65 mm thick; with the rest in the series being among the world’s thinnest timepieces. All of this is most likely why the company refers to them as the “Master of Ultra-thin”, and why they have established the brand’s reputation in this specialty. The various pieces in this line are available in yellow, white or pink gold, and are offered in skeleton, jeweled, and enameled versions.
The Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P has a manually-wound mechanical movement, meaning that the crown must be wound, in order to wind the mainspring and power the watch. They were able to make it so thin by turning it into a self-contained unit: merging the piece’s movement with its’ case – instead of having a separate movement that can be removed from the case – meaning that it has one less layer on the back of the watch. Due to this, the case-back doubles as the base-plate for the components of the movement. It also has a smaller, off-center dial, set into the bridges – meaning that the dial lays directly on top of the movement. All of this results in a thinner timepiece.
This 18k white gold timepiece – which was created in celebration of the brand’s 140th anniversary – has a 48-hour power reserve and a case that is 38mm in diameter. It features a black alligator strap with white gold pin buckle, and a price which runs between $20,000 and $30,000.