Monday, February 4, 2013

The Incredibly Thin Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater

At this year's SIHH, Piaget unveiled a minute repeater encased in an ultra-thin 48mm diameter case crafted in Piaget's location at Plan-Les-Ouates specifically working a mere  9.4mm thick case of which the movement is just 4.8 mm thick.  The open-worked dial exposes all elements of the in-house Caliber 1290P.
Piaget went all out to ensure extraordinary results.  Six engineers spent three years at Piaget's location in  La Côte-aux-Fées, working on the 1290P movement. At first I assumed this watch must be hand wound judging from the slimness of the watch, but nope this watch is all automatic - its movement is developed on the base of the Caliber 1200P, which is the worlds slimmest automatic watch.  This feat is enabled by a platinum micro rotor visible at the back of the watch.
The slimness of the watch is no measure to the amount of components, of which the 1290P has a astounding 407. Some of the pieces ,like certain wheels are a mere .12mm thick, and some components are even 0.07 mm thick. The precision required in crafting such diminutive pieces requires high level of expertise and competence. Once crafted, every piece must be placed with perfection for a precision movement. An error in reckoning of a single piece no matter how small can confound the timekeeping to no end. Thus an optimal skill required in compiling the movement is imperative.
 The components of the minute repeater comprise of rods encircling the movement and two steel hammers. The minute repeater is activated by a slider at the 9 'o'clock position whereby it chimes at an incredible intensity of 64 decibels striking in the 5th octave. Hours and minutes are distinguished in sound: Hours - G Sharp and Minutes - A Sharp . The resonance is amplified by increasing the space within the case by hollowing it out as much as possible without compromising the integrity of the structure.  In addition four braces attach the case to the movement ensuring optimal transmission of the gong vibration. A gong base is attached to the movement as well as four screws on the exterior of the case. All these aspects interact to provide a super efficient minute repeater as part of an ultra thin movement.   To regulate the rhythm an inertia flywheel is used as a regulation of rythum from the time the chiming starts until it subsides.

Piaget is at the horological pinnacle of watchmaking world especially in record setting ultra-thin watchmaking.  The Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater is Piaget's 4th ultra-thin high end complication and its 11th complication.  To date Piaget has manufactured no less than 35 completely in-house movements.

Only ten pieces will be available in rose gold raising its worth and appeal. 

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