Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030

Angus Davies reviews the new Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030. This ultra-thin watch includes a flyback chronograph and dual time function, tastefully packaged in an 18-carat pink gold case.

This detailed review of the Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030 includes live images and specification.

Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030 - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

A low-calorie meal with minimal fat, salt and sugar is often accompanied with a bland unappetizing flavour. Indeed, the objective of creating a healthy meal which grants the consumer a svelte appearance seems to be characterised by a taste which proves challenging to enjoy.

Piaget, the high-end Swiss watch company, seems obsessed with the notion of slimness. Each year, it creates new timepieces with super slender profiles, establishing a few world records in the process.

At SIHH 2015, the prestigious maison released the Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030. Presented in an ultra-thin case this timepiece did not appear to betray any apparent concessions. This unusual scenario piqued my interest and I felt deserved closer examination.

The dial

My first impressions on seeing the dial was a perception of serenity and calm. This seems contrary to the typical modus operandi of a chronograph, a complication intended to record elapsed times, where a degree of urgency is inferred.

Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030 - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The silver hue of the dial is accompanied with a sunray, satin-finish. The dial canvas is softly spoken and does not shout with unseemly conduct. Each aspect of the face of this watch exhibits a sense of dignity.

Ordinarily, I place much value on dials comprising of differing depths, but the Piaget flies in the face of this with its smooth, flat dial surface. The tri-compax display employs flush subdials. The hour markers, and strokes positioned in between, also share the same plane as the dial surface. Even-numbered hours are denoted with slender double batons while single batons mark the odd-numbered hours.

The hour and minute hands are baton shaped and feature a narrow gauge.

The subdials reveal the first of several surprises with the Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030. A 30-minute register is positioned at 3 o’clock and a small seconds display is located at 6 o’clock, while the subdial at 9 o’clock is not a further chronograph register as you may expect, but a dual time indication, revealing a further degree of complexity to the watch’s specification.

Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030 - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

A key strength of the dial design is the succinct means of imparting information to the wearer. The uncluttered layout ensures there is no misunderstanding, the information provided is unequivocal.

The case

The 18-carat pink gold case feels modern with each surface appearing neat and precisely defined. The round case with its slender bezel contrasts with the straight, sharp lines of the lugs.

Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030 - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Piaget has cited two world records with the new Altiplano Chronograph, the ‘world’s thinnest hand-wound flyback chronograph’, measuring 8.24mm, and the ‘world’s thinnest hand-wound flyback chronograph movement’, with a mere height of 4.65mm. The outcome of this horological slenderness is an incredibly comfortable wearer experience. The watch quietly rests on the arm, barely making its presence known. I would liken it to a well-behaved child quietly reading in the corner of the room, its retiring demeanour is particularly appealing.

The case diameter is 41mm reaffirming the models inoffensive character. Indeed, it is difficult to find any aspect of this watch which would provoke a negative reaction.

Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030 - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Adorning the caseback, Piaget has fitted a sapphire crystal to reveal the Manufacture Piaget 883P hand-wound movement.

The movement

The finishing of the Manufacture Piaget 883P is wonderful. The bridges are decorated with circular Côtes de Genève motif, the wheels are circular grained, perlage is visible on the main plate and blued screws are much in evidence. The bevelling of the bridges is sublime, with intricately curved angles shining brilliantly, and the Piaget coat of arms is delivered in a resplendent gold finish.

Piaget Altiplano Chronograph GOA40030 - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The column wheel is freely disclosed via an aperture within the bridge above. The six pillar column wheel is paired with a vertical clutch. Pressing the discreet push piece at 2 o’clock, the action is light, yet positive. The central chronograph seconds hand commences its timing duties with a welcome absence of stutter.

Piaget’s pursuit of ultra-thin forms necessitates much ingenuity to create movement components with a low aspect ratio. The chronograph finger has a height of 0.06mm, less than the thickness of a human hair. Nevertheless, even with a history dating back to 1874, the Swiss brand also needs to ensure that the watch will perform faultlessly despite employing thin parts, presenting additional challenges which need to be overcome. However, rest assured with an enviable reputation of creating ultra-thin watches, I see little reason to doubt the reliability of this new Piaget timepiece.

The Altiplano Chronograph is equipped with a flyback function. While the chronograph is operational, the wearer is able to stop, reset and restart the chronograph function merely by pressing the push piece at 4 o’clock.

Despite the hand-wound movement measuring only 4.65mm, it delivers much functionality with its flyback chronograph and dual-time indication.

Closing remarks

When Piaget released the Altiplano 38mm 900P in 2014, I was deeply impressed by the ingenious means of using the case back as the main plate. However, the Altiplano Chronograph impresses me even more. The dial is simple to read, the chronograph operates with a silky-smooth action and the finish is very impressive.

Furthermore, because it is very slender, the watch confers a degree of comfort which is truly exceptional.

I have studied this watch several times and confess to scratching my head. It may be exceptionally slim, but remarkably there is a distinct absence of compromise. Perhaps, Piaget should diversify into making low-calorie meals.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Piaget Altiplano Chronograph
  • Ref: GOA40030
  • Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 41mm; height 8.24mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback. 
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; chronograph; second time zone.
  • Movement: Calibre 883P; hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 30 jewels; power reserve approximately 50 hours; 240 components.
  • Strap: Brown alligator leather strap supplied on a pink gold ardillon buckle

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