Piaget Presents a One-of-a-Kind Altiplano and Two Precious Limelight Galas at Watches & Wonders 2022
One of the silver linings of having a long break from in-person Swiss watch fairs is that even the most jaded connoisseur is approaching this year’s Watches & Wonders like a kid in a candy store. We at Watchonista especially missed examining concept watches and other ultra-limited editions in person.
In particular, the brand Piaget has always thrilled us with its use of rare materials and its creation of watches that must be seen in the metal to be believed. Here are some highlights from the brand’s Watches & Wonders 2022 releases, including the unique Altiplano Ultimate Concept, Limelight Gala High Jewelry, and Limelight Gala Precious.
Altiplano Ultimate Concept
At this year’s fair, Piaget continues its tradition of unveiling audacious concept watches. Introduced in 2017, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept (AUC) became the first step in Piaget’s quest for ultimate slenderness and technical virtuosity. The original AUC came in at a wafer-thin 2mm, and, at the time, was the thinnest hand-wound watch in the world.
Since then, Piaget and Bulgari have battled for the world record (the ball is currently in Bulgari’s court with the 1.80mm thick Octo Finissimo Ultra), but the AUC continues to break new ground. Last year’s version featured a green dial that referenced the landscape of La Côte-aux-Fées, the home of the manufacture and the place where all the magic happens.
For 2022, the display of the AUC pays tribute to the first “beats” of this ground-breaking timepiece.
This new AUC features several stylistic signatures that mark its journey from conception to construction. Starting at the top of the dial: The Piaget logo is in a historic font that is the same typeface used in the logo above the manufacture’s headquarters in La Côte-aux-Fées.
Two circles sit between the dots of the minute ring marking the time – 7:47 – when the AUC first came to life. The birth date of the AUC – February 7, 2017 – is also inscribed in a small window at the 2 o’clock mark. And a “La Côte-aux-Fées” inscription has been engraved onto the ratchet wheel, along with the manufacture’s GPS coordinates.
Lastly, to complete the tribute, the dial has been decorated with Super-LumiNova stars that replicate the sky above La Côte-aux-Fées at the exact date and time of the AUC’s creation.
The 41mm case of this year’s one-of-kind AUC is also constructed of a high-tech cobalt-based alloy. Visually, this material plays well with the sandblasted, slate blue PVD base plate and the satin-brushed caseback, bezel, and lugs. The timepiece is presented on a svelte dark blue alligator strap. It also boasts 40 hours of power reserve and is a spectacular fusion of horological elements.
While most watch cases are made up of four layers (the bezel and crystal, the dial, the movement, and the caseback), the 2022 AUC only uses two – the bridges, dial, and hands compose one layer, while the caseback, movement, main plate, and bezel complete the second. That is how the watch achieves its super-slender profile.
Limelight Gala High Jewelry and Limelight Gala Precious
In the 1970s, Piaget hosted extravagant gatherings of movie stars, artists, and customers, including style icons like Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Brigitte Bardot. Dubbed the Piaget Society, these glamourous meet-ups inspired the first Limelight Gala line.
Of course, Piaget’s social network still exists, most notably on the red carpet at film festivals and charity balls, with actors like Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo wearing the maison’s vibrant jewels. And this year, Piaget has married its Haute Joaillerie savoir-faire with haute horology to create the Limelight Gala High Jewelry.
This dazzling design combines a mix of almost every shape of diamond, from brilliant to baguette to marquise cuts. It’s the ultimate expression of the gem-setter’s art as each stone is selected and set to capture and reflect the light differently.
Meanwhile, the Limelight Gala Precious, on the other hand, hares comparatively more hallmarks of Piaget’s gem-set watches of the 1970s. A malachite dial is set with diamonds then framed by gradient green tsavorite stones. The supple links of the gold bracelet are engraved with Piaget’s signature palace décor texture – a bark-like design that is so fine that it feels like the fabric of an haute couture gown.
Pricing & Availability
All three of these timepieces are available now, with prices given upon request. For more information about these and the rest of the brand’s Watches & Wonders novelties, please visit the Piaget website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)