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Piaget - The art of ultra-thin watchmaking
As of November 1st 2010, the Piaget Time Gallery located at 40, rue du Rh?ne in Geneva, is hosting a new exhibition called PIAGET , THE ART OF ULTRA-THIN WATCHMAKING. The Piaget Haute Horlogerie Manufacture has written some of the finest pages in the history of ultra-thin movements. For over 50 years, the ongoing quest for excellence and the development of new calibres has illustrated Piaget's incredible capacity for innovation. Its unique ultra-thin creations have enabled it to cultivate its distinctive nature and thus position itself at the very pinnacle of the art of fine watchmaking. The Piaget Time Gallery located above its Geneva boutique, is now showing to public historical and contemporary watches along with historical documents retracing the fantastic history of the swiss manufacture in ultra-thin watchmaking quest.
From the mid-1950s onwards, Piaget worked to reduce the thickness of its mechanical movements through developments that were to prove decisive for its future. At the 1957 Basel Watch Fair, Piaget presented Calibre 9P, a hand-wound movement only 2 mm thick. Its thinness and its technical qualities made it a benchmark in this demanding field. In parallel, Valentin Piaget filed several patents for an ultra-thin self-winding movement. Revealed to the public in 1960 and cleverly incorporating an off-centred micro-rotor, Calibre 12P was a mere 2.3 mm thick.
Piaget continued to demonstrate its mastery of ultra-thin horology with the Calibre 430P range introduced in1998, and the 2003 launch of Calibre 600P, the world's thinnest shaped tourbillon movement representing a brilliant expression of its consummate skill. Over the last 12 years, Piaget has developed more than 30 movements all of which, in their respective categories, illustrate this quest for thinness that guarantees the elegance of a timepiece, whether for dual timezone, chronograph, perpetual calendar or tourbillon models. To mark the 50th anniversary of its legendary Calibre 12P, Piaget rose to a new technical challenge in 2010 by setting a double record for both the thinnest self-winding movement and the thinnest self-winding watch in the world, respectively measuring a mere 2.35 mm and 5.25 mm. The new Altiplano watch features a generous 43 mm diameter that enhances its elegant profile.
The sapphire crystal case-back provides admirable views of the quality and ingenuity of the movement. Calibres 1200P and 1208P powering these new models really push back the limits of miniaturisation. The gear trains are only 0.12 mm thick, meaning scarcely more than a hair's breadth (0.08 mm). To achieve even greater thinness, the self-winding system is incorporated into the movement mainplate, thus adopting the concept used in 1960 for Calibre 12P. The off-centred micro-rotor, with its oscillating weight in 24-carat gold or platinum, has sufficient inertia to ensure an approximately 42-hour power reserve.
For Piaget, developing the ultra-thin concept provided an opportunity to express two main features of its personality: on the one hand, the utmost discretion that reflects the ascetic isolation of its beginnings, and on the other, the lavish extravagance that burst forth in the early 1960s. The pursuit of extreme slenderness thus lies at the very heart of the brand's paradoxical nature. Resolutely one step ahead of its time, Piaget believed in the modernity of ultra-thin watches. As early as 1957, the brand was advocating great elegance and sobriety of style, a principle to which it has remained faithful ever since. 50 years on, the design of high-tech objects which are now part of our everyday life has proven Piaget right. The ultra-thin watch has always featured in Piaget's collections as an embodiment of the brand's distinguishing characteristics and its unique expertise. In 1998, this philosophy was embodied within a collection named Altiplano in reference to the Latin American high plateaux noted for their captivatingly beautiful bare landscapes. Piaget is now reaching new heights with its new self-winding watch, the slimmest in the world, and thereby giving full expression to the name that the company has chosen to symbolise the demanding art of ultra-thin watchmaking.
Although mastery of the art of ultra-thin watchmaking has enabled Piaget to develop an understated, refined style that is the brand's true signature, it has also fostered an abundance of bold creativity. At the beginning of the 1960s, Piaget soon made its mark as a specialist in jewellery watches. The slimness of the calibres and the resulting diminutive dimensions provided scope for complete freedom of expression. At the same time, Piaget bought up several workshops specialising in gold craftsmanship. This policy of skills integration has given the brand an independence entirely conducive to fulfilling its wildest dreams. Bracelet watches adopt the softness and thinness of fabric. Dials take on the colours of hard stones such as jade, coral, turquoise and lapis lazuli, or the subtle shades of miniature enamelling.
Watches are housed in gold cases, or double cases to provide a dual time-zone display. The movement itself is revealed through exquisitely decorated, skeletonised and magnified dials. Diamonds could not fail to be included in this sparkling display of creativity. They light up watch cases and bracelets, or outline celebrity fingerprints on the dial of the Altiplano watch - offering a precious, timeless memento of a charitable gesture by Laetitia Casta, Vanessa Paradis, Liz Hurley and HRH, Prince Albert II of Monaco. At Piaget, the history of ultra-thin watchmaking is also a story of great generosity.
Piaget invites you to experience this legendary world, by appointment only, Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. To schedule a visit, simply contact Piaget on +41 22 817 02 00 or by e-mail at the following address: email@example.com