For the third year in a row, Haute Time caught up with Franck Touzeau, International Watch Marketing and Creation Director at Piaget, during SIAR 2014. We asked Mr. Touzeau about the latest Piaget flagship, the Piaget Altiplano 900P, otherwise known as the thinnest mechanical watch in the world.
Piaget reigns supreme in the Ulta-Thin segment. How did the brand come to master such a specific craft?
Piaget has a strong history in the ultra-thin segment, because we started to work on it during the 1950s. In 1957, we introduced the 9P, which was one of the thinnest mechanical movements, measuring only 2.1 mm. Three years later, in 1960, we introduced the 12P which was known as the thinnest automatic featuring a movement of 2.3 mm, and from the 1960s to the end of the 1990s, we continued to work on the ultra-thin segment.
The brand continued to develop new concepts, and introduced new ultra-thin calibers combining high-end complications. This year, the brand introduced a new record breaker, the Altiplano 900P, which measure movement and case combined, only 3.65mm.
Every time we develop a new concept, we try to capitalize on the previous development. In 2010, Piaget introduced the Altiplano 1205P, the thinnest automatic watch in the world.
Right away we started working on the next design. The main idea for developing the Altiplano 900P was the result of a big brainstorm. We took a lot from the Altiplano 1205P. But we needed to re-think the construction of the watch and one engineer had the idea to reduce the size of the dial, to off-center it basically to the left, to put everything else around it – giving you the illusion that it is a skeleton watch, but it’s not.
To reduce the thinness, we decided to remove the mainplate, in order to fix all the components directly on the caseback. That wasn’t enough to break the size record, so we continued to reduce the space between all the components. In a traditional watch, the space between the components is 0.25mm, and we decided to reduce that to 0.18mm. So we off-centered the dial at 10’clock, in order to put all the components of the movement around the dial.
A lot of brands say they have the world’s thinnest watch. How do you react to those claims?
At the end, the great difference between Piaget and the other brands is that ultra-thin is the Piaget philosophy, and ultra-thin is the Piaget complication. We’ve been working on that segment for the past 60 years. We have a collection featuring 35 calibers, 24 of which are ultra-thin, 14 of which are record-breakers. So it proves that Piaget is the master on the ultra-thin segment. Even during the trend of bulky watches, Piaget continued to work on the development of elegant and timeless pieces. So we don’t follow trends. We follow our brand philosophy. That won’t change in 2015. We will continue to capitalize on the Altiplano Ultra-thin collection…
Photo Credit: Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official Piaget website.