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Inside The Manufacture The New IWC Manufakturzentrum

is week, I traveled to Schaffhausen, in the heart of German-speaking Switzerland, for the opening of the IWC Manufakurzentrum, the brand's massive new factory. After 21 months of construction and six months of moving teams into place, the beautiful building was finally ready to welcome its first visitors, and just a handful of journalists received tours earlier today. On one level, this might be a factory, but on another level it's a statement from IWC about how it sees itself and where it wants to go in the future.

According to CEO Chris Grainger, the idea to build a new manufacture on the outskirts of Schaffhausen goes back six or seven years. Sandwiched between the Rhine river and the old town, IWC's HQ presented limited options for growth and so the most logical solution was to find an open field that would give the brand plenty of space for something today while also offering room for growth down the line. Additionally, Grainger sought to solve some of the inefficiencies faced by an integrated manufacture, creating a factory that functioned more efficiently, with better flow through the various stages of production. This is the first time IWC has built a new facility from whole cloth since F.A. Jones built the original manufacture in 1874, and internally it's seen as the brand's foundation for the next century or more.

IWC Replcia Watches
The Manufakturzentrum's airy entryway has a nine-meter-high ceiling and an inviting lounge area.

The IWC Hall of Fame wall greets visitors. How many of these former directors and technical innovators can you name?

Two architecture firms were contracted to work on the new Manufakturzentrum, ATP Architects, and RMA Architects, with the former specializing in industrial spaces and production facilities. However, Grainger himself is a trained architect and since the early stages of the process he served as the lead designer, coming up with everything from the basic aesthetic concept of the building to the individual finishes in various spaces. I don't know of any other watch company that can boast of anything like this, and the results really speak for themselves.


Grainger opted to design the manufacture after the great exposition pavilions created by Modernist architects in the first half of the 20th century. These low-slung buildings, with their cantilevered roofs, slim columns, ample use of glass, and open plans, were used to show off the very best of a country's art and industry – Grainger thought this a fitting metaphor for IWC's new manufacture.

The building was inspired by the Modernist pavilions built for early 20th century expositions.

"It's a very obvious and almost frowned upon thing to say amongst architects, but I was always impressed by the approach of Mies [van der Rohe], and not because of the design statement part of what he did, but because he was a classically trained architect who was a Modernist," says Grainger. "He was looking forward without negating the existence of hundreds and hundreds of year of classical proportion and form. This is something that is really close to my heart. I want to be progressive and I want to be looking forward, but without forgetting the great contributions of the last hundreds of years – and I think this suits our industry perfect... we're not history-less here."

The hospitality-focused parts of the manufacture use warm wood accents, while the factory floors are bright white and clean.

Beyond being beautiful, the Manufakturzentrum is still very much a working factory – and a large one at that. There is more than 145,000 sq. ft. of working space fit into the 456 ft. by 203 ft. (139m x 62m) footprint. Of that, nearly 24,000 sq. ft. are clean room space where movements can be assembled, cases can be tested, and quality control can be exercised. If you want a few more numbers, we got 'em for you: there are 23,500 sq. ft. of solar panels on the roof, over 52,000 sq. ft. of glass used for the interior and exterior walls, and over 515,000 cu. ft. of concrete used throughout. The building represents a CHF 42,000,000 investment by IWC and it sure looks the part.

Making cases in-house requires heavy machinery that takes up a lot of space.

IWC's non-precious-metal watch cases start at the Manufakturzentrum from raw bars of steel, titanium, bronze, and more.

Before the Manufakturzentrum opened, IWC had to rent temporary space to house its massive case-making operation.

So what did IWC do with the hundreds of employees and dozens of production processes before the Manufakturzentrum, you might ask? They actually had to rent out industrial space in nearby Neuhausen to use as case-making facilities, since they'd long outgrown the original headquarters in central Schaffhausen. In case you don't know, IWC makes all of its steel and titanium cases in-house from raw bars of metal, and these operations take up a massive amount of space. The Manufakturzentrum is now a site of movement component production, movement assembly (for various in-house caliber families), case production and assembly, quality control, and equipment engineering, as well as being used as a logistics center, IT center, and infrastructure hub. And don't worry, the old HQ will remain fully functional – IWC needed space to expand and to build for the future, but main corporate offices and a lot of final watch assembly will stay right where they were.


One thing that was important to Grainger from the beginning with this project was creating a warm, comfortable place for his team to work. The pavilion-inspired architecture looks great in the hilly Swiss landscape, but it also provides optimal lighting conditions for watchmaking. "In some of those glass box manufacturing sites, you want to sit in there with your sunglasses on and it gets incredibly hot," says Grainger. "They're not comfortable spaces to work in." The solution was the cantilevered roofs, which keep the sunlight from becoming too bright through the large windows, meaning people can keep the shades up all day, enjoying both natural light to work by and views of the lush greenery surrounding the factory. Likewise, glass walls separate workspaces from the corridors that snake around the outer edges of the building, further diffusing light into the interior.

The watchmaking workshops are bright, without being too bright – and they have great views as well.

Clients and visitors are also catered to throughout the building's design. Grainger thinks that the Manufakturzentrum can serve as a powerful gateway for existing customers and potential customers to experience what IWC is all about. "We went to every German car manufacturer we could get inside, from Porsche to Mercedes to Volkswagen, to look at visitor experience integration. They have done a great job letting you see every step of the process," says Grainger. As a result, there are paths that lead through the factory, allowing you to see nearly every stage of a watch's construction, from design through production and then on to assembly and final QC. Furthermore, the most interesting and and visually engaging stages of production have been placed closest to the visitor pathways, so you won't find yourself staring at massive materials recycling bins or the backs of CNC machines. The ultimate goal here is to create a new way for IWC clients to appreciate their watches – and hopefully a way to draw would-be clients in.

This is much more than just another watch factory.

"When you start from the assumption that we sell functionally inessential products – nobody needs our products to tell the time precisely – you realize we create emotional objects that become a part of clients identity and create joy for clients when they look at what they carry on their wrist," says Grainger. "And that's more than a case and a dial: it's stories and history... to see the engineering and the craftsmanship, here in the place where the company was founded, gives the client a totally different appreciation for the product."replica breitling watches

I must admit, while I've seen quite a few watch manufactures over the last few years, architecturally speaking the IWC Manufakturzentrum takes the cake – and it's not even close. It's easy to think of the Manufakturzentrum almost as a meta-product from IWC: it's the factory where IWC watches are made, and it has been crafted with the same level of thoughtfulness and the same basic principles as an IWC watch. From the basic idea of modeling the factory on Modernist pavilions to the way the building integrates with the lush green site (the chrome columns reflect the landscape at certain angles, sort of blurring the boundary between building and landscape) to the balancing of customer experience and manufacturing efficiency, it seems like the perfect model for a truly 21st century watch manufacture.

You can learn more about the IWC Manufakturzentrum here.


Retailer Spotlight Wempe In New York City And Martin Pulli In Philadelphia, PA

Today, we're featuring two retailers who couldn't be more different – except for the fact that they both possess an unwavering commitment to the mission of forwarding horology and serving a growing community as best they can. In New York, Wempe is truly a fixture in the scene. It's got the classic "New York" feel to it: It's on Fifth Ave, it's located in The Peninsula (built in 1905), and the experience is the epitome of Manhattan ritz. Buying from Wempe is a ceremony.

Two hours south in Philadelphia, there's Martin Pulli on a one-man mission to showcase independent watchmakers to America. His shop is a gearhead's dream: models of iconic planes hanging from the ceiling, models of mid-century sports cars festooned in cases with fantastic watches. It looks and feels a lot like what many in the watch community might have done with our bedrooms at 16 had we had the budgets that allowed us to buy the watches we lust after today. To purchase a watch from Martin isn't ceremonial in the same way it is at Wempe. Instead, it's an experience that's intimate, and there's a sense of discovery. No matter what you're after, you'll leave the store having been exposed to something that you simply can't see anywhere else. And you'll leave having learned something new as well.

Speaking to both Ruediger Albers, the current president at Wempe USA, and Martin, behind Martin Pulli, it became clear that the shared commitment to serving the community to the highest degree is absolutely central to their visions of the operations they run.

Wempe Jewelers in New York City

Everyone has a creation story. What’s yours?
Wempe is a family-owned watch and jewelry specialist retailer based in Hamburg, Germany. Founded in 1878, the company today is in its fourth generation and owns and operates 35 multi-brand stores and mono-brand boutiques including Rolex, Patek Philippe, and A. Lange & S?hne. A large emphasis is given to service; therefore, not only does every Wempe store have certified master watchmakers in a state-of-the-art service department, but Wempe also operates Europe’s largest service center in Hamburg and another service center in Glashütte. Here in New York, Wempe is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a few limited edition watches. However, the current situation has, of course, impacted production, so we are not able to divulge information at this point.

I myself am a master watchmaker and joined Wempe 33 years ago in Hamburg before transferring to New York and taking over management three years later.

How has Wempe been supporting the watch community?
Wempe has always advocated on behalf of the greater watch community and continues to do so. Being one of the leaders in the industry, our head office in Hamburg is in close contact with all major brands, and it is a voice that’s being heard. When the quartz crisis threatened to put many brands out of business, Wempe stayed the course and encouraged manufacturers to stick to mechanical timepieces and the art of horology. Wempe was part of the group of first retailers supporting the rebirth of A. Lange & S?hne after German reunification, and in 2005 established their own brand with chronometer-tested movements at affordable prices. Wempe today owns and operates the Observatory in Glashütte where Chronometer Certification takes place. Wempe is the leading retailer offering watchmaking apprenticeships in Glashütte and Hamburg.

Here in the U.S., Wempe has just created an IGTV feature called "Wednesdays with WEMPE" where we will feature live interviews with leading executives and clients sharing their views of the industry, collecting and personal anecdotes, as well as newsworthy updates.

What watches do you carry that folks should be paying attention to right now?

Wempe offers the best of the best. When we doubled the size of our Fifth Avenue flagship store in 2016, we integrated two dedicated showrooms featuring the worlds of Rolex and Patek Philippe. Newcomers are Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin complementing our impressive selection from A. Lange & S?hne, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Breguet, IWC, Cartier, Breitling, Hublot, Roger Dubuis, Montblanc, Chopard, NOMOS, Longines, and Baume & Mercier.

What do you specialize in?
The New York flagship store prides itself on offering the finest watch brands as well as fine jewelry in a relaxed, comfortable yet lively atmosphere. My team consists of passionate professionals, most of whom have been with the firm for many years, some even decades. You can feel it is a family business, especially during these difficult times: To date, Wempe has kept all of our employees on the payroll. Something unique to our store is the collector’s salon that we created exclusively for our customers. Here we showcase watch winders and safe solutions by Buben & Zoerweg, many of them with James Bond-like gadgets and features that safely hide your collection behind sliding panels of mirrored bullet-proof glass. Ask to see it on our lower level with your own eyes the next time you are in town.

How can customers and those interested in purchasing a watch connect with you?
While we are adhering to Governor Cuomo’s stay-at-home orders, we can be reached via sales@wempe.com for any inquiry. We can process pre-payments and ship once we are able to safely access the store, even in the event that we will not be able to open to the public right away.

As soon as the stay-at-home order has been lifted we will be resuming operations safeguarding everyone’s health and wellbeing. Fortunately, we have already been able to re-open most of our stores in Germany, and therefore are able to adopt their best practices which will already have been tried and tested by then. Gloves, masks, and plexiglass partitions, plenty of disinfectants and temperature checks of the team and most likely clients – all of this will be part of the new normal for a while, but it’s in the best interests of everyone.


700 Fifth Avenue

55th Street, New York N.Y. 10019


Martin Pulli in Philadelphia, PA
Everyone has a creation story. What’s yours?

My initial exposure to the industry came when I was very young. My parents were "pickers," buying and selling vintage and antique jewelry to dealers and specialty jewelers. We spent a lot of time on weekends at flea markets, estate sales, and antiques markets or fairs. My father has been a passionate clock (and watch) collector my whole life, and I've always been interested in watches. In the '80s, there weren't too many manufactures producing mechanical watches of note. So, the business was really focused on the trade of vintage watches between a relatively small nationwide network of dealers and pickers. There were many watches then, which many would consider "Grail" watches today, which had a very small collector audience in the '80s.

In the '90s, the vintage collecting crowd began to become more expansive. Simultaneously, many old marques were being resurrected, bringing new watches to market as brands that were being recognized anew. In 1999, I purchased the building to develop my own retail shop. The neighborhood was an ex-industrial walking district, newly gentrified, reminding one of a classic European village with independent shops and eateries. By the early 2000s, I began to branch out from vintage watches into some select small modern manufactures. A few years in, I began to notice a small movement of independent watchmakers, working on their own outside of the "system." The notion that a watchmaker would be brave enough to step outside of an increasingly vital system and go off on their own to present their own point of view on watchmaking was fascinating to me.

As I became more interested in digging in to independents, I was becoming much more aware of the limitless fresh ideas and incredible craft which could be had collaborating with fine, independent watchmakers. Now, years on, I am really proud to see so many small, independent watchmakers that I've "grown up" with. It's very satisfying, and this continues to fuel my passion for watches and fine watchmaking.

How has Martin Pulli been supporting the watch community?

I am always considering the "ecosystem" of the watch community. Now, of course, we're in unprecedented times. However, even during the past few years, I've noticed the slowdown in interest for marques of larger brand houses. I should be thrilled I suppose, because in the short term many more collectors have turned their eyes to the thoughtful, artisanal, and innovative ideas of independent watchmakers. I am quick to recognize that this ecosystem is rather delicate. In fact, outside of manufactures, there are many small suppliers that supply specialty components and services to the watch industry. A lot of these same suppliers supply both large marques and smaller independents. However, the suppliers rely on supplying larger entities, with larger orders as a basis for a lot of their business. Without the health of larger brand groups, many suppliers could not afford to run their businesses solely servicing the smaller brands or independent watchmakers.

The underlying responsibility for everyone in the industry is to realize that customer experience is really paramount to maintaining a healthy, balanced industry. I believe it's important as a retailer to recognize that my clients are enjoying themselves, exploring a passion that is a happy diversion from their professional lives. It's fun! My role as the retailer is to enable the client to have as much fun as possible. Are there certain watches clients chat about which I don't sell? Sure, but it's really all fun. Sometimes, there will be something for me to help to add to a collection, and sometimes, there's a time to just be a friend and say, "it's not something I carry, but it's really cool, and you should enjoy yourself."

What watches do you carry that folks should be paying attention to right now?

Ressence is celebrating 10 years since their first watches of Type 1 Series Zero. Benoit has his "Collection X" to commemorate 10 years. Collection X will be staggered throughout the rest of 2020, and in June, we'll expect to see the first watch in Type 1-slim, incorporating some unique, fresh new ideas. My friends Maria and Richard Habring continue to advance their made-in-Austria format into all of their watches and to diversify the entire collection. We have a fun collaboration turning a watch we've done, "Erwin Scientific," into a GMT format, becoming "Erwin Scientific Globetrotter," which is in prototype now.

I expect to see several new and fun watches emerge from the "Mad Finn" Stepan Sarpaneva's double secret laboratory in Helsinki – keep your eyes peeled for these. The Gr?nefeld brothers continue to fulfill their remaining (pre-sold) 1941 Remontoire series, while collectors become increasingly focused on the value offered in their latest 1941 Principia Automatic. My friend Francesco Calamai from Tuscany has just released a very interesting new pilot's chronograph, the G50 Fresscia, which represents an incredible value with fantastic details. Lastly, I know everyone in the watch community will be eager to see something incredibly exciting from the unique haute capabilities of Romain Gauthier and his team later this year.

What do you specialize in?

I am focused on small independent manufactures and independent watchmakers. In recent years, I've seen so many of my independent friends winning first prize awards against watches from major brand houses during Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve. The reason being that there's so much focused creativity and varied points of view from a small group of uber-talented designers and watchmakers.Rolex Replica

However, I believe my real specialty is service. I pride myself on being able to afford clients a "concierge" level of service, whether in my shop or on the telephone from afar. I know that there's a certain experience I have with independent watchmakers and microbrands, which may be new and unfamiliar to a lot of enthusiasts. I am happy to be patient to take some time to discuss all manner of topics related to watches Swiss Replica Watch in order to make any enthusiast comfortable to pursue their hobby and have fun! I like to keep things casual and relaxed for clients, while I remain focused on the details.

How can customers and those interested in purchasing a watch connect with you?

Anyone interested in purchasing a watch or even knowing more about a product may email me (Martin@MartinPulli.com) or contact me directly on the telephone (877-89PULLI). Even during this difficult time, many of my friends are continuing to build watches in their own small workshops. We're importing and delivering now, with patience. Everyone is welcomed to visit my website anytime to see and learn more about what I do.


Hands-On The IWC Portugieser Automatic 40

on the one hand, I’ve long seen IWC IWC Replcia Watches as a maker of robust, purpose-built tool watches like the Ingenieur, the Pilot's Watch, and the Aquatimer. But on the other, it's a fact that half of the company’s core collections are ostensibly dress watches: They are Da Vinci, Portofino, and the watch that we are talking about today, the Portugieser – which, granted, also is known for its large size. (One could also throw in the dressy Tribute to Pallweber, which exists only as part of IWC's Jubilee collection, but there I digress.)

From a design standpoint, the watches below, with their clean dials and sub-seconds, are about as close to the vintage ref. 325 as any IWC I have seen recently. It’s clear that IWC is taking this collection, long defined by its oversized case, in a somewhat different direction. Nonetheless, it’s a move that I suspect HODINKEE readers are going to like a lot.

The Portugieser’s story stands out for having been pushed along at first by a special request. Two Portuguese gentlemen, the story goes, asked IWC to make for them a large wristwatch with the chronometric qualities of a pocket watch. This was in the late 1930s, when IWC’s reputation was mainly based on its status as a maker of accurate pocket watches – which, of course, used large and robust hand-wound calibers that could easily be regulated within the strict chronometric tolerances required to achieve consistent accuracy. IWC's solution was to case up one of its pocket watch movements within a large-for-its-time wristwatch case, and the watch that would go on to be known as the Portugieser was born.

What we’re looking at today is a 40mm automatic Portugieser that brings all of the design elements that I most associate with the line to the table: a round case shape, a dial with legible Arabic numerals, and a railroad chapter ring. But it does this in a size that aligns with what many watch enthusiasts seem to want from a dress watch today. Today's Portugieser also strikes me as wearable on smaller wrists, including women’s wrists, in a way that I don’t think other versions of the Portugieser have been. The model that we are looking at here is 40.4mm in diameter and 12.3mm thick, though IWC is also making two new 42mm references with seven days of power reserve.

I wouldn't necessarily say that the newest 40mm Portugieser is a small watch, though. Its relative thickness compared to its diameter makes it a watch that you feel on your wrist, even if it's definitely dressy enough to cover you for business and formal occasions. The absence of a date, the quite beautifully applied numerals in gold, gold-plate, rhodium-plate, or blue (one of my favorite parts of the design and one that reminds of the gold numerals on my own old IWC Caliber 89), and the elegant feuille hands all add up to a wristwatch that feels timeless. But I also get the sense that the Portugieser Automatic 40mm could easily serve as an everyday watch – and I dare say as a one-watch collection – thanks to its aforementioned wrist presence.


The Portugieser Automatic 40mm is available in four different executions, three in stainless steel and one in 5N pink gold. The two that we photographed for this story are the gold version with gold-plated hands and 18-karat gold applied numerals and markers (ref. IW358306) and the stainless steel version with blued hands and appliques (IW358304). The other two options in stainless steel are ref. IW358303, which has a silver-plated dial and gold-plated hands and appliques, and the ref. IW358305, which has a blue dial and rhodium-plated hands and appliques.


The IWC cal. 82200 at the heart of these new references is a newish caliber that we first saw in 2018 when it debuted in the Da Vinci Automatic Edition 150 Years in a round case that also measured 40.4mm, though with very different contours and, of course, with the much more shapely lugs of the Da Vinci. This is a thoroughly modern automatic caliber that features IWC's highly efficient Pellaton winding system with parts made from durable ceramic, a small hacking seconds at 6 o'clock, and 60 hours of power reserve while running at a conventional 28,800 vph.

There is very little not to like about the new Portugieser Automatic 40. It looks great, and its case feels as if it's obviously been designed as much for wrist-hugging comfort as for simple good looks. You really do have to go searching for things to fault. I did find one, though. Turning the watch over and admiring the movement, something struck my eye, and it wasn't the quite beautiful movement itself. It has to do with the watch's water resistance of 3 Bar (30 meters).

Now, is one likely to go swimming with this watch?Hublot Replica Watches Probably not. I do feel that a new watch launched in 2020 should strive to offer more than this amount of water resistance, though, which feels like the bare minimum for a standard time-only watch. It's not as though this is a chronograph or a minute repeater. And with its slightly thick case, it feels like this should be possible. It's thanks to that same robust-feeling case that I could easily see myself switching a steel example of this watch from its alligator strap to a more casual one and making it my daily wear. And in that scenario, a minimum of 50 meters water resistance – and ideally 100m – would be most welcome.

But as I said, this is almost a cavil. The watch is solidly built, and its movement is not only in-house but distinctively IWC with its proprietary winding system. In all three stainless steel versions, in particular, the value proposition feels just right at $7,250.

The IWC Portugieser Automatic 40mm. 40.4 x 12.3mm case with 30 meters of water resistance and see-through caseback. In-house caliber 82200 automatic movement beating at 28,800 vph, 60 hours of power reserve, running in 31 jewels. Four versions available: ref. IW358303: stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands and applied markers and numerals, black alligator leather strap; ref. IW358304: stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, blue hands and applied numerals and markers, blue alligator leather strap; ref. IW358305: stainless steel case, blue dial, rhodium-plated hands and applied numerals and markers, black alligator leather strap; ref. IW358306: 18-karat 5N gold case, silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands, 18-karat gold applied numerals and markers, brown alligator leather strap by Santoni. All steel versions, $7,250; 5N gold, $16,900.

For more, visit IWC by clicking here.

Photographs by Tiffany Wade


Introducing The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, The World's Thinnest Mechanical Watch



Quick Take

The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch Swiss rolex replica – let's call it the AUC – was first introduced as a kind of horological experiment in 2018, and at the time, there was no real intention expressed by Piaget to make it a regular production watch. It was and is almost absurdly thin – at 2mm overall, it is actually thinner than most watch movements. There are quite a few technical problems, to put it mildly, which have to be addressed in making a watch this flat. For one thing, most watches which have pushed thinness to this level have had cases so flat that they tend to bend when the watch is strapped onto the wrist, which historically has been one of the major limiting factors in how thin a watch can actually get.


When I saw the AUC in 2018 at SIHH, I found it irresistibly intriguing. I have always had a soft spot for ultra-thin watches, and historically, Piaget has been one of the industry's leaders. But I have to be frank, I did not expect it, ever, to become a regular production watch – and if anyone had asked me, I would have given Piaget exactly a snowball's chance in hell of ever making it commercially available. (We were actually asked, at first, to not handle the prototypes at all, which did little to instill any confidence that it would be anything you could actually buy.)

However, mirabile dictu, here it is. Not only is it available to purchase as a series-produced watch (though I can't imagine that they plan on making very many of them per year), it is also customizable. You can, if you want bragging rights for wearing the thinnest mechanical watch ever made, specify your choice of colors for the subdial for the time, the movement plate, the finish of the hands, and even the finish of the strap. According to Piaget, there are over 10,000 possible permutations, which means that in the extremely unlikely event that you meet someone else who is also wearing one, chances are you are guaranteed to not have that Met Gala moment of horror where someone else is wearing the same outfit.

Price is on request (unsurprisingly).
Initial Thoughts

Piaget has a very strong presence in high jewelry watches,Patek Philippe Replica and historically, that has been a big part of the brand's identity. But in the 1960s, it was also a leader in creating ultra-thin movements, including the automatic caliber 12P and the hand-wound caliber 9P. These were record-setting movements at the time and today, they are still, even by modern standards, remarkable constructions; they were some of the thinnest really practical mechanical movements constructed. There were attempts to make flatter movements, including the late and largely unlamented Lassale calibers (which were so thin that servicing them generally meant throwing them out, as you couldn't open the watch case without damaging them beyond repair). But in terms of movements you could actually use every day, Piaget had few rivals in ultra-thin watchmaking.

Piaget caliber 9P, 2mm thin.

The caliber 12P, 2.3mm thin.

At 2mm thin, the 1957 caliber 9P remains one of the most historically important ultra-thin movements, and while the ultra-thin wars have heated up considerably in recent years, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch is out in front of the pack, at least for now, in absolute thinness. This feat is achieved through a number of unusual technical features. For one, the movement is integrated directly into the case, which acts as the movement plate. The problem of rigidity has been addressed by making the case, not out of conventional watchmaking materials, but rather, a high-tech cobalt alloy. The motion works and hands have been suppressed into the movement so that they lie on the same plane as the going train, and the sapphire crystal is a whisper-thin 0.2mm.

It is, in a word, a most extraordinary technical achievement, and one which aesthetically has a presence that has no rival, at least for the time being. If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that a sufficiently determined watchmaker can break records heretofore considered unassailable. But it is very difficult, nonetheless, for me to imagine anyone knocking the AUC from its throne any time soon.
The Basics

Brand: Piaget
Model: Altiplano Ultimate Concept

Diameter: 41mm
Thickness: 2.0mm
Case Material: Cobalt alloy, 0.2mm thick crystal
Dial Color: Customizable
Strap/Bracelet: Alligator leather, 1.5mm thick
The Movement

Caliber: 900P-UC
Functions: Hours and minute
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Winding: Manual via rectangular crown integrated into the case band
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Jewels: 13
Additional Details: Case integrated into movement plate
Pricing & Availability

Price: On request
Availability: TBD
Limited Edition: No, but very limited production.


Source: http://www.mywatchesonline.co