Piaget, masters of the ultra-thin movement, has recently released the new Altiplano Tourbillon Aventurine. It’s a limited edition of 38 pieces featuring one of the most complex and dazzling of all watch complications, the tourbillon, contained within a signature ultra-thin, ultra-sleek 38mm white gold case. The tourbillon is underscored by a pristine black and starry aventurine glass dial. And, in a first for Piaget, the bezel is set with 48 baguette-cut diamonds, two for every hour that passes.
Aventurine glass takes its name from the Italian expression ‘a ventura’ meaning ‘by chance’. This is because its original creation was purely by lucky chance.
The story goes that in the 17th century the glass was created purely by accident in Murano, Italy, when a glass worker let slip some copper fillings into the molten metal. The copper oxide in the metal created a random and mesmerising sparkle effect like that of a starry sky and it’s this that forms the backdrop to the ultra-thin flying tourbillon cage placed in an off-center window at two o’clock.
The tourbillon and the hours and minutes counter positioned at eight o’clock create an 8 shape, a number considered lucky in Asia, and a symbol of infinity.
The ultra-thin design includes 157 ultra-light components; a miniscule masterpiece with a carriage of just 2.88mm, three titanium bridges weighing just 0.2 grams, and some components as thin as a human hair.
In a first for Piaget, the stem mechanism, with its intermediate wheel, enables the setting of the off-center dial. This showpiece watch runs on the in-house 670P Tourbillon caliber, an ultra-thin manual winding movement that is just 4.6mm thick with a 48-hour power reserve featuring hours, minutes and flying tourbillon. The sapphire crystal caseback affords an excellent view of the workings of this remarkably delicate movement. The watch comes on a dark blue alligator leather strap with an 18k gold white gold clasp adorned with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Piaget movements are still exactingly made in the small village of La Côte aux Fées high up in the Swiss Jura mountains. You need plenty of peace and quiet to create movements with workings of just a hair’s breadth. Contrasted with these tranquil environs is the hustle and bustle of Geneva where the watches are actually made in a state of the art eco-conscious manufacture. This is where the creative engine of Piaget houses the movements in masterpieces of modern design.
The Brand Ambassador for the Altiplano range reflects one of the most important markets for these high horology creations. It’s 38-year-old Chinese actor Hu Ge. It’s in China that captains of industry are prepared to pay the not so ultra-thin price tag to appreciate the beauty and balance of haute gamme and haute horology.
Movement: Manual winding 670P Tourbillon caliber with 48-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Tourbillon
Dial: 38mm, 18k white gold
Strap: Alligator blue
Price: USD 153,000, limited to 38 pieces