During a recent visit to Piagets two production facilities I once again got an intimate look into the incredible craftsmanship that lays behind the ultra thin watches created by the Swiss manufacturer. "It takes two years to become a watchmaker in France, in Switzerland it takes three years. To work as a watch maker at Piaget you need at least four years of training," Head of Human Resources Yves Bornand told me, when I asked to the skilled hands that worked with the tiny movements parts that goes into the Altiplano models.
Swiss manufacturer Piaget once again take first place in the category of super thin watches. This year they are introducing the thinnest minute repeater with automatic movement even. And guess what? It is even water resistant to 30 meters. It may not sound like a lot (and it isn't) but compared to almost any other minute repeater this is actually impressive.
Open worked and skeletonised watches are hardly a new phenomenon, but a striking number of brands were taking this route at SIHH. Most noticeably, Audemars Piguet celebrated 40 years of the Royal Oak watch with a skeletonised, extra-thin version of its design classic and a very smart skeletonised tourbillon model, both in platinum – limited editions of 40 watches each. Meanwhile Piaget continued its slimline odyssey with the world’s thinnest ever skeletonised automatic watch, the Altiplano Automatic Skeleton.
For those attending SIHH the past five days have been a whirlwind of tourbillons, world timers, chronographs, diamonds, precious metals, rare materials, high-tech presentations, parties, models, champagne and walking. Especially walking. The Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie is an endless loop of cavernous beige hallways inhabited by watch industry powerbroker, their minions, collectors, brand reps, publicists and whole armies of journalists. You need sturdy shoes.
Sevilla. Beautiful city. The sun, the flamenco, the bull fights, the sangria and the superslim watches. The latter is probably not what the tourist brochure mentioned the last time you considered leaving for sunny Sevilla. Never the less this is where Piaget chose to show case their new super slim Altiplano Skeleton for the world press.
The headline may sound like a record spinning DJ, but this blog entry has nothing to do with music. It has to do with horology, of course. The tiny Swiss mountain village La Côte-aux-Fées is where some of the finest movements are born. You may not know this, but admittedly it takes a deeper look into the horological ABC to know that this is where Piaget makes it’s magic. I.e. the Polo FortyFive Perpetual Calendar that was just presented at this year’s SIHH watch fair. (OK, perhaps this particular Polo FortyFive is actually produced at Piaget’s other production facilitues in Plan-les-Ouate in Geneva, but the view is better from the mountains which is why I choose to mention this particular location).
Admittedly. It took me a while. To like Piaget. Of course I knew of the legendary Polo watch many years ago. I even owned a fake version of it when I was a drunken, ignorant teen. Now of course I would never wear a fake watch – but I still drink. It did take several years for me to really pay attention to the impressive watch brand. A watch brand that pleases me more and more every time I attend the annual luxury watch show, Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneve.
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