Watch World's Most Coveted Award Goes to Piaget's Ultra-Thin Altiplano

Watch World's Most Coveted Award Goes to Piaget's Ultra-Thin Altiplano
Courtesy Voutilainen

At the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève 2020, the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic won the Grand Prix.

Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève top prizes were announced today for 14 categories of watches, out of a mind-boggling 226 entries.

As the world's thinnest automatic watch, the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic, a watch with 4.30mm thickness, was selected as the best watch among the 84 finalists. Piaget made it happen by building the movement from the top onto the mainplate instead of reducing components to tiny tolerances, which compromises strength and functionality.

It is possible to prevent the crystal from colliding with moving parts by recessing the mainspring barrel under the flying bridge and fitting the hour and minute hands just below the bridges, thereby serving as the dial plate as well. Watches that are virtually invisible are made by separating the movement from the wearer's skin with cobalt.

In accepting the award, Piaget CEO Chabi Nouri said there were challenges involved in creating such an unimaginable, unthinkable watch. But our engineers and watchmakers proved that nothing is impossible. This is what happens when crazy ideas become reality. Let's continue to dream, create, and inspire each other.

An exceptional movement and exquisite finishing were the hallmarks of the 28SC watch, a limited edition of 10 pieces created by celebrated independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen for the Men's watch category. In addition to the large balance wheel, two escapement wheels provide two direct impulses to the balance, ensuring that the watch is perfectly regulated within a narrow tolerance. There are only 50 to 60 watches produced each year in the workshops that build, fabricate, finish, and assemble a Voutilainen watch. As a result, the movements are more energy-efficient and more stable than traditional lever escapements.

Courtesy of Greubel Forsey

A Robb Report “Best of the Best” issue winner for the Hand Made 1, Greubel Forsey won the Men’s Complication prize for the piece. It is a one-of-a-kind timepiece made by hand using original manual tools, following traditional watchmaking principles. There were only five components not made by hand in the watch: the mainspring, the jewels, the crystal, the case gasket, and the strap spring bars.

Forsey, who is half of the duo that includes Robert Greubel, says “Everything else was born of human touch. It was a huge intellectual project, and putting it together was a big push.” In addition to the watch being made to tolerances of 2 to 4000ths of a millimeter, it took more than 6,000 hours to complete.

In keeping these skills alive, Forsey says, is part of our culture. "We wanted to make sure that we can pass them on to future generations."

Courtesy of Bovet

In addition to winning the Ladies prize, Bovet 1822 also won the Mechanical Exception award for the astronomical watch Bovet 1822 Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter 2, representing the brand's specialty, for its outstandingly guilloched Miss Audrey, named after the eldest daughter of company president Pascal Raffy.

With a second time zone, a flying tourbillon, and a skeletonized rendition of the southern/northern hemisphere moon phase, it is assembled in a sapphire crystal case.

Raffy spoke of being honored for this award on behalf of our artisans: "This watch represents the continuation of a vision I had in 2015 to create astronomical timepieces, with 100% in-house production, which incorporates engraving and decoration."

Courtesy of Breitling

Breitling's Superocean Heritage 57 Limited Edition II won the Petite Aiguille as the best watch under $8,000, with some proceeds being donated to front-line workers fighting Covid-19.

“After the first edition of the watch was released, we had great responses from consumers and now we have great responses from professionals,” said CEO Georges Kern.

In order to assist health care workers in countries most affected by the virus, he created a new series with rainbow-colored dial markings corresponding to the colors of the NHS badge. A 300-meter water-resistant watch with a titanium case coated with DLC, the Superocean Automatic 48 Boutique Edition won the Divers watch category.

This year, Antoine Simonin, retired and longtime director of WOSTEP, the Swiss watchmaking school, won the Special Jury prize for making an outstanding contribution to Swiss watchmaking. In Simonin's leadership, WOSTEP opened 17 watchmaking schools throughout the world, where lessons were offered in English, French, German, Japanese, and Mandarin. In today's world, he runs one of the finest and most comprehensive watchmaking libraries and bookstores.

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