Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater

Angus Davies reviews the Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater launched at SIHH 2013. This watch, with its lithe profile, exhibits matchless finissage and is a wonderful exemplar of haute horlogerie.

This detailed review of the Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater includes live images and specification details.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The Duchess of Windsor, formerly Wallis Simpson, allegedly remarked, “you can never be too rich or too thin”.

It would appear these words resonated around the design studio of Piaget. The Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater, launched at SIHH 2013, is rich in detail and is the world’s thinnest minute repeater.

I am drawn to its lithe and curvaceous form. However, what is it that appeals to my very English sensibilities? Join me on this horological journey to explore this regal timepiece.

The dial

Dauphine shaped hands, gold and faceted, impart the hours and minutes and are probably the most conventional aspect of the dial.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The dial is open-worked revealing a sunburst satin brushed and guilloché mainplate. The eyes are drawn into the heart of the watch, enticed into exploring every nuance of its handsome form.

The fortunate wearer can immerse themselves in a horological fest of snailed wheels, blackened and polished screws, hand bevelled edges and hand drawn bridges.

Gold elongated batons are suspended over the movement, imparting hours in a subtle, yet luxurious, way.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

A gold circlet, labelled with the brand’s motto, “Always do better than necessary”, is located between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock. It frames the flywheel which regulates the chiming of the watch between the start and finish of the chiming cycle.

The case

Crafted from 18-carat pink gold, the case of the Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater measures a substantial 48 mm in diameter. Its large dial area proffers excellent legibility of the hours and minutes. Moreover, it allows the wearer to see each facet of the finely honed movement.

Whilst the case diameter is generous, the watch is exceptionally thin, measuring just 9.4 mm in height. The shallow depth of this complicated watch is remarkable, especially considering the numerous parts it contains; 407 in total.

The watch sets two records for slenderness, 4.8 mm for its 1209P Calibre and 9.4 mm for its case.

Nevertheless, to focus merely on dimensions would be to overlook the many other virtues this watch has to offer.

Piaget has expertly blended polished and satin brushed surfaces. Whereas the bezel and caseback feature a highly polished finish, the caseband and lugs employ satin-brush. The mix of the two creates a synergistic outcome which I particularly like.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The lugs are short with the strap nuzzling neatly between the horns. This allows the strap to freely arc the wrist ensuring a comfortable fit for all but the most diminutive in stature.

A sapphire caseback reveals the peerless execution of the Calibre 1290P, satisfying the demanding scrutiny of the most discerning collector.

The movement

The new 1290P Calibre originates from Piaget’s atelier in La Côte-aux-Fées, referenced on the dial, again adjacent the flywheel.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

A minute-repeater is my favourite complication. Whilst there is much skill evidenced with the creation of a tourbillon, the complication employing hammers and gongs is, in my opinion, the most appealing. The slide on the side of the mechanism activates the minute repeater, first imparting the hours courtesy of one hammer, then the quarter hours utilising both hammers in union and finally the minutes using the second hammer alone. The minute repeater is wonderful and highly audible, measuring at least 64 decibels.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Whilst much praise is justified for the lithesome character of the movement and its sonorous complication, it is the exceptional finishing which impresses me most.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Circular Côtes de Genève features on the bridges. The aforementioned hammers are mirror polished. The interior and exterior angles on the bridges are expertly bevelled by the accomplished artisan’s hands.

The pink gold-toned platinum micro-rotor captures energy from movements of the wearer’s wrist and the watch has a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. The Piaget crest is engraved on the upper surface of the rotor, reminding me once more why I feel this watch has a regal feel.

A stylised “P”, a Piaget signature, is affixed to the regulator assembly, in keeping with other magnificent watches from this prestigious manufacture.

Closing remarks

Invariably, when we consume food absent of calories and, in particular, fat, sugar and salt, it can taste bland and lack visual appeal. However, in this instance Piaget has created a svelte timepiece, free of unwanted girth, but packed with a rich flavour and exhibiting wonderful aesthetics.

Whilst admiring the Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater the statement made by the Duchess of Windsor, “you can never be too too rich or too thin” appears to resonate.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater
  • Reference: G0A38019
  • Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 48.00 mm; height 9.40 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; minute repeater.
  • Movement: Manufacture Piaget 1290P Calibre, self-winding; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 44 jewels; power reserve 40 hours; 407 parts.
  • Strap: Brown alligator leather strap with 18-carat pink gold folding clasp.

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