SIHH 2013 preview…world’s thinnest — and Piaget’s first in-house minute repeater caliber…
In 2012 we saw the very exciting Piaget Caliber 1200S, and ultra-thin (2.4mm) skeleton caliber with platinum rotor, among other attributes. The 1200S debuted notably in the 38mm, $60,000 Altiplano skeleton automatic . In fact when it comes to ultra-thin calibers, Piaget more than holds its own with the world’s elite brands — arguably it is the leader. Counting the 1200S, Piaget has developed a whopping twenty (yes, 20!) ultra-thin calibers. Piaget even has five ultra-thin skeleton calibers — an impressive collection by any standards.
In 2013, Piaget will again raise the bar. Not content with debuting its first minute repeater, Piaget will introduce the world’s thinnest minute repeater movement — the caliber 1290P. At just 4.8mm thick, the 1290P and its 407 parts is a feat of micro-mechanics — and exceptional finishing. The 1290P will debut in the Piaget Emperador Coussin XL in red gold case, seen here — limited to just 10 pieces in rose gold. The case of this exceptional timepiece will be a sizeable 48mm but only a mere 9.4mm thick (thin). More on the watch, and the new 1290P minute repeater caliber, below.
The 100% in-house caliber 1290p. The 1290P is developed off of the 12ooP (the world’s thinnest automatic movement). Some of its components measure as little as 0.07mm thick!
As I understand it, this is the second repeater watch from Piaget, the first being a grande et petite sonnerie developed by FP Journe for Piaget a couple decades ago.
Here you can see the hammer and gongs. The gongs are the circular rods that run around the outside of the movement. The two hammers are situated at approximately 12 and 1 o’clock in the image below:
Here is a detailed, closeup view of the hammers and base of the gongs:
Here is a view of the gongs being installed by a Piaget watchmaker:
It is perhaps fitting then that the Calibre 1290P heralds an exceptional level of finish and decoration. According to Piaget, it is the most prestigious level of finishing ever performed by the manufacture: the “image finishing” level. Decorations are entirely done by hand: bridges bevelled and handdrawn with a file, sunburst or circular satin-brushed wheels, pink gold-toned screws and oscillating weight, mirror-polished finishing.
Activating the repeater slide at 9 o’clock serves to trigger the minute repeater on demand. Piaget notes that the Calibre 1290P chimes with exceptional intensity, with no less than 64 decibels. This compares to conversation at an average of 65 decibels; off top of my head I’m not sure how it compares to other minute repeaters.
Update: I read here that Gerald Genta lays claim to the world’s thinnest minute repeater caliber, circa 1980s. The author notes, however, that the watch suffered from poor reliability and delicate mechanics.