Watches & Wonders 2020: The Best New Watches From Piaget To Vacheron Constantin
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept
It only took two years for Piaget to take what was an experimental timepiece to commercial viability. First showcased at SIHH in 2018, it was the thinnest mechanical watch ever, hand-wound or automatic, at only 2mm thick. That is the equivalent of two credit cards stacked on top of each other.
Now that it is available for purchase, let’s recall how Piaget, which has an enviable history in ultra-thin watches, achieved this latest feat without compromising the integrity of the watch
First, since gold is too fragile at this level of thinness, the watchmaker had to engineer a new material, a cobalt-based alloy that is two times stronger than gold. Second, almost every internal part has to be miniaturised – for instance, the wheels went from the normal 0.20mm to only 0.12mm thick.
The mainspring barrel had to be redesigned to exclude a cover; it’s now mounted on a ceramic ball-bearing. The crown takes the form of a flat, telescopic system that fits flush with the case band.
Don’t be fooled by its wafer-thin appearance though: it has enough strength to withstand the G-force of a jet.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater
Debuted five years ago, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater has the distinction of being the first minute repeater to be complemented with jumping numerals indicating the hour and the minute via two large windows.
It boasts several other unique features: a) the minute repeater is activated with a pusher, not a slide as is the norm b) the striking mechanism sounds 10-minute intervals instead of the more common 15 minutes, and c) it has a constant-force escapement to ensure a consistent amount of force is delivered for better rate stability.
This year, this remarkable high complication is available for the first time in white gold (previously only in platinum) with a deep blue dial, and is limited to 30 pieces.
Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon
Inspired by the founder’s love of sport, the watch is imbued with athletic elements from the styling to the heartbeat. The cushion-shaped case in stainless steel is paired with an integrated bracelet, the first in Laurent Ferrier’s stable of watches. While the case in satin-finished, the bracelet is alternately satin-finished and mirror-polished for a robust appearance. An opaline dial is matched with indexes and hands in orange Super-LumiNova.
As a brand known for understated luxury, the spotlight-hogging tourbillon is only visible on the caseback. It’s the same movement that endowed the Classic Tourbillon which won the Best Men’s Watch at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) in 2010. Limited to 12 pieces.
See also: Sincere Fine Watches Hosts Watchmaking Masterclass For Laurent Ferrier’s Kuala Lumpur Launch
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
This classic perpetual calendar is crafted for the first time in 18k pink gold with a blue lacquered dial. A vision of sporty elegance, the exquisite details include the sunburst satin finish on the dial, the snailed decoration on the counters as well as the bracelet links in a design that recalls the Swiss manufacture’s Maltese cross logo.
Beating within is the Manufacture 1120 QP/1 calibre that measures a mere 4.05mm for an overall watch height of only 8.1mm.
See also: Vacheron Constantin Charms The Ladies With Égérie