Miniaturisation has consistently been one of the watchmaking industry’s principle destinations. With the appearance of complicated watches and the advancement of the wristwatch, this issue got basic. Fitting numerous capacities into a solitary development, which needs to stay wearable, requires reconsidering space. This additionally prompted the advancement of ultra-thin watches, guided at first by a longing for tastefulness, yet in addition in the system of steady improvement. Famous since the 1960s yet somewhat failed to remember during the 2000s (with the pattern for enormous watches), ultra-thin watches as of late made a solid comeback – a pattern that has started open fighting among Piaget and Bvlgari – among others.
Modern history of the ultra-thin wristwatch
The idea of the ultra-thin wristwatch is nothing new except for it’s Piaget and the famous Altiplano model that carry it into the spotlight. In 1957, Piaget presented Caliber 9P; the thinnest mechanical development at any point made, it was fitted inside a watch that was thinner than anything that had at any point been seen previously. This ultra-thin hand-wound development was simply 2mm thick, bringing about watches scarcely thicker than 4mm. Considering the absence of computer-helped creation, Caliber 9P is as yet thought to be an inconceivable development.
A few years after the fact, in 1960, a similar brand came out with a programmed development, driven by a similar mission for thinness. Type 12P, which estimated 2.30mm thick, was created around the generally novel idea of the miniature rotor. While programmed watches typically depended on a halfway mounted wavering weight, here the rotor is a lot more modest and incorporated on similar level as the extensions, shaving the couple of additional millimeters generally needed on a programmed watch. These two developments, 9P and 12P, set the pace for the a long time to come and gave Piaget the validity it actually appreciates today.
Yet, Piaget was not by any means the only producer to play the ultra-thin game. Realizing how complex and delicate these developments were, not many attempted and much less accomplished outcomes. An observable name in the field is Jean Lassale, a Swiss watch company that planned Caliber 1200, positively the thinnest mechanical watch development ever, with a 1.2mm record-thin profile. To accomplish such thinness, Lassale eliminated the top scaffold (leaving the parts connected distinctly on one side, from the fundamental plate to the counter turns), and rather utilized metal rollers for the hub (14 of them, each utilizing 0.20mm balls). A programmed form, Caliber Jean Lassale 2000, was subsequently evolved, estimating 2.08mm thick. These developments, which demonstrated inconsistent and amazingly delicate (uncasing them for administration tasks was practically incomprehensible) were created from 1976 to 1979. Jean Lassale was subsequently offered to Seiko, while the technical archives and the licenses were purchased by Lemania. The last kept on giving developments of these developments to Piaget (under the name Lemania 1210 and 2010) and to different brands like Vacheron Constantin (under the name Caliber 1160 and 1170).
At a similar time, the quick improvement of quartz innovation gave a lift to ultra-thin watches. The replacement of complex mechanical developments with electronic components opened up potential outcomes to go much thinner. The best illustration of a ultra-thin quartz watch is the Concord Delirium, made in 1979. It was, around then, the thinnest watch at any point made (and today is as yet perhaps the thinnest watch), at 1.98mm thick. Hence, a Delirium 2 was delivered, which was considerably thinner at 1.5mm. The Delirium IV finished the fight as Japanese makers introduced its slender 0.98mm case. This record-thin profile was conceivable by utilizing the case back of the watch as the primary plate for the development – an innovation later received by Swatch for the 1983 plastic watch, and by Piaget for the advancement of Caliber 900P.
While the quartz emergency was all the while effectsly affecting the Swiss business, the race for thinness didn’t subside. In 1986, Audemars Piguet created Ref. 25643 with programmed Caliber 2870, the first sequentially delivered tourbillon watch and, until as of late, the thinnest tourbillon observe ever (hand-wound or programmed). Type 2870 and the watch in which it was encased are noteworthy for different reasons. It highlighted a minuscule tourbillon carriage, estimating just 7.2mm in measurement, about 2.5mm in tallness, and was made in titanium. Oneself winding limit was given by a “hammer” twisting framework rather than a swaying weight. Much the same as the Concord over, this Audemars Piguet had no primary plate and the parts were fixed straightforwardly working on it back – once more, a sharp method to decrease stature. At long last, the way that the tourbillon was noticeable through the dial was not a plan decision. It was driven by technical reasons – once more, to decrease the thickness, the tourbillon was set through this opening, and not under the dial.
Several years would need to pass before the idea of ultra-thin wristwatches returned on middle of everyone’s attention – and obviously, it was on account of the company that began everything: Piaget. Absolutely, there have been numerous ultra-thin watches created; Patek Philippe didn’t quit producing the Nautilus or the Calatrava, outfitted with type 324 or 240, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre likewise kept on having ultra-thin pieces in their assortments as did Audemars Piguet. The race for thin began again during the 2010s, and the most recent two years are the new Golden Age of the ultra-thin watch.
Piaget: a tested leadership
While Piaget actually had different Altiplano watches in the assortment, a large portion of them outfitted with hand-wound Caliber 430P and programmed Caliber 1200P (direct relatives of the 9P and 12P), we’d need to trust that the 900P will be acquainted in 2014 with see the fight for thin in real life. In those days, Piaget intrigued the business by dispatching the thinnest mechanical watch ever, furnished with Caliber 900P and showing a noteworthy engineering for the case/development construction.
Based on exploration done during the 1980s on the Concord Delirium and the debut Swatch, Piaget shaved additional millimeters by eliminating the fundamental plate. The development was not autonomous any longer but rather shaped piece of the actual watch. The case back of the Piaget Altiplano 38mm 900P was machined to get the pieces of the development, requiring just an upper scaffold to hold the moving parts set up. This particular development, very uncommon on a mechanical watch, took into account the production of a watch estimating only 3.65mm in tallness. This watch stayed the thinnest mechanical watch for a very long time until Jaeger-LeCoultre dispatched the Master Ultra-Thin Squelette, with a great 3.60mm case – and more customary design, with its development autonomous from the case.
Piaget, as the “master of ultra-thin”, is often matched. However, this doesn’t keep it from proceeding as its continued looking for thinness. In 2015, the brand dispatched the Altiplano Chronograph Flyback, a watch that actually holds the record as the thinnest chronograph ever. Shockingly, and regardless of whether gauges only 8.24mm in stature, this watch depends on a conventional engineering – case back, development, dial, bezel – and its Caliber 883P, estimating just 4.65mm, has fascinating highlights – column haggle vertical hold to enact the chronograph capacities, flyback mechanism, 50 long stretches of force reserve…
More as of late, Piaget has discovered another competitor to challenge its matchless quality: Bvlgari. The battle for thin was announced allowing the business a chance to practice its creativity. After the Romans dispatched the thinnest programmed watch, Piaget responded not long before the SIHH 2018, with the dispatch of the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P . In view of the 900P, this watch adds a self-twisting limit with a fringe rotor, situated around the development, simply under the bezel. This permits the watch to keep a ultra-lean 4.30mm profile. Notwithstanding, as you’ll see, this record just kept going three months.
The last uppercut came at the SIHH 2018. Piaget needed to respond unequivocally, which it did with the Altiplano Ultimate idea . Fundamentally, this is the thinnest mechanical watch at any point made, and by a wide margin. At 2mm thick generally, it shows an addition of no under 1.60mm, compared to the past record set up by JLC. To accomplish such thinness, Piaget utilizes a similar case back/fundamental plate development yet in addition improves on the rest to acquire in space: case back, bezel, primary plate and glass on one level and the dial, hands and development components on the other.
The movement’s parts have been overhauled with a few metal balls, a mainspring with no cover and no drum integrated into a break machined straightforwardly into the case back, a managing organ that isn’t held set up by an equilibrium connect however is cantilevered all things being equal (a flying equilibrium). At last, the glass on top estimates just 0.2mm (compared to over 1mm on most watches). To keep sufficient firmness and not to twist, the case is made of cobalt composite. Thinking about these upgrades, it is quite difficult to envision that Piaget’s record will be broken in the close future.
Bvlgari: The new contender
No one saw it coming. Five or six years prior, Bvlgari was still, for the greater part of us, a good goldsmith yet not a top-level watchmaker. Today, it ‘s giving Piaget’s R&D group genuine cerebral pains. Everything began with the joining of two makers under the Bvlgari umbrella: Daniel Roth and Gerald Genta, both known for their extraordinary plan and primarily, for their capacity to make ultra-complex watches. At the point when an assembling has the ability to make a grande sonnerie, it knows a thing or two about scaling down – the ideal base to make ultra-thin movements.
It all began during Baselworld 2015 when Bvlgari presented the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon , in those days the thinnest tourbillon development at any point made – not the thinnest tourbillon watch, as this record was as yet in hands of Audemars Piguet, with the 1986 Ref. 25643. However, at 5.00mm in stature, the instance of this watch was not just ultra-intense and ultra-present day as far as plan, yet it was likewise ultra-thin. The hand-wound movement developed in-house by the brand estimated just 1.95mm in height. The whole development was molded around the tourbillon confine so the tourbillon pen’s thickness decided the thickness of the whole development. Additionally, rather than utilizing gems, the break haggle origin barrel are kept in position and are guided by metal balls, and the tourbillon confine is turned by a cartridge bearing.
Following a similar thought, Bvlgari showed the equivalent savoir-faire on a subsequent complication, quite possibly the most complex of the business: the moment repeater. While the past record holders were Vacheron Constantin with the 8.09mm thick Patrimony Ultra-Thin Caliber 1731 and later Jaeger-LeCoultre with the 7.90mm Hybris Mechanica 11, Bvlgari showed impressive savoir-faire by introducing the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater , the second part in the ultra-thin set of three of the brand . With its amazingly thin and finished 3.12mm development and a 6.85mm titanium case formed in an advanced, intense way, this new watch is to date the thinnest moment repeater on the market.
The third watch in Bvlgari’s ultra-thin set of three is really the least complex of all: the 3-hand programmed. Once more, we locate a similar current, precise plan, the full titanium case and dial and the hyper-thin profile. At the point when it was dispatched at Baselworld 2017, the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic accompanied the thinnest programmed development accessible around then – 2.23mm in stature to be exact – and a ultra-thin 5.15mm case. After nearer investigation, it gave the idea that it was not the thinnest programmed observe ever (still the AP ref. 25643 at 4.8mm), nor was it the thinnest programmed development (the Lassale 2000 was 2.08mm). In any case, no discussion about the magnificence and technical accomplishment. The Octo Finissimo, with its miniature rotor development and a generally good cost, was an extraordinary accomplishment for the brand.
During the SIHH 2018, Piaget revealed the Ultimate Concept and the Ultimate Automatic and Bvlgari hit back with the thinnest programmed watch and the thinnest tourbillon watch, for the sake of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic . Utilizing the equivalent tourbillon development as the hand-wound model, Bvlgari added a fringe rotor to the bundle, without changing the thickness of the development – still at 1.95mm. The brand likewise chipped away at the case, bringing about a watch that estimates 3.95mm altogether. Another benchmark was set for the years to come…
Audemars Piguet: still strong
Audemars Piguet has a suprising ability to connect appearing logical inconsistencies. As the promoter of the ultra-striking and enormous games watch – it developed the idea back in 1993, with the Royal Oak Offshore – Audemars Piguet is additionally the maker of ultra-thin watches, similar to the standard Royal Oak. In any case, we should not fail to remember two things. Audemars Piguet made the idea of the ultra-thin extravagance sports watch back in 1972, and it likewise has the ability to produce grande complications (a watch that combines a chronograph, an unending schedule and brief repeater), which means developments with genuine scaling down savoir-faire.
At the SIHH 2018, Audemars demonstrated to the business that it is still particularly in the game, by presenting the thinnest programmed unending schedule. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 is as yet an idea watch for the present, however it will be created in little arrangement in the years to come. By working on the interminable schedule module – presently incorporated into the base development and not added on top of it – just as on the development and the case, AP has made a watch that estimates 6.30mm in stature, with a development that is 2.89mm thick. Compared to a 15202ST (instance of 8.1mm and development of 3.05mm), it implies that both the case and the development (a similar base development) are a lot slimmer. A significant great development.
The condition of the industry
A short outline of the current record-holders:
- Thinnest mechanical watch: Piaget Altiplano Ultimate idea, at 2mm in thickness
- Thinnest programmed watch and Thinnest tourbillon watch: Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, at 3.95mm in thickness, with a 1.95mm thick movement
- Thinnest minute repeater watch: Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, at 6.85mm in thickness, with a 3.12mm thick movement
- Thinnest chronograph: Piaget Altiplano Chronograph Flyback, at 8.24mm in thickness, with a 4.65mm thick movement
- Thinnest programmed unending schedule watch: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2, at 6.30mm in thickness, with a 2.89mm thick movement
More subtleties to comprehend ultra-thin exploration and development
Because pictures are superior to words, we urge you to view two recordings we created recently.
- Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Trilogy:
- Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept: