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SIHH Novelty - Piaget’s Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater

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February 2013


A calibre entirely developed, produced, decorated and assembled by Piaget

If there is one major complication that is particularly difficult to produce, it would definitely be the Minute Repeater. To also enrich the movement with an automatic winding mechanism; to endow it with an exceptional sound; to offer the thinnest calibre in its category along with the thinnest case; to guarantee water resistance to 3 ATM; and to achieve all this 100% in-house: this array of individual feats form a unique accomplishment that is unique in the world of Haute Horlogerie. The Manufacture Piaget has thus achieved an authentic tour de force in developing the Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater. The development of its 1290P movement alone involved three years of work by six engineers dedicated to this task.

Developed on the basis of Calibre 1200P (the world’s thinnest automatic movement), the 1290P measures just 4.8 mm thick, a new record in its category despite its 407 parts – a mind-blowing number that demanded exceptional miniaturisation and a refusal to compromise on the sound or on technical reliability. A daunting feat indeed, that called for each part to be skilfully thought out and shaped.

1290P Movement by Piaget
1290P Movement by Piaget

The ultra-thin nature of this model adds a further touch of complexity to the development of such a technical calibre as an automatic minute repeater. From the first sketch to the final finishing operation, each stage requires absolute mastery of every single profession. This is a constant challenge, in that assembling, adjusting and decorating such thin parts allows no room for mistakes. Some wheels are for example a mere 0.12 mm thick, scarcely more than a hair’s breadth (0.08 mm). Some components even measure as little as 0.07 mm! The micro-rotor was designed in platinum in order to guarantee the best possible winding power within a minimum thickness.

The will to push back the limits of ultra-thin horology led to certain construction choices, such as the decision to display the hammers on the bridge side, or to reverse the repeater slide device which is pushed downwards rather than upwards. Precision was not neglected either, since Calibre 1290P is equipped with a surprise-piece device ensuring an optimal hour jump at the end of the 59th minute so as to ensure that the striking mechanism indicates the exact time to the nearest second.

A finely crafted case

The 48 mm-diameter case also entails a show of technical prowess, since it plays an essential role in the sound transmission. It has been hollowed out as much as possible in order to achieve optimal resonance. Four braces secure it to the calibre to ensure the transmission of the gong vibration. This essential transmission is reinforced by a gong base that is interconnected both with the movement and the exterior via 4 screws – a rare device, as too is the ingenious mechanism placed beneath the bezel and designed to ensure the watch’s water resistance.

Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater by Piaget
Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater by Piaget

Measuring just 9.4 mm thick despite its 69 parts, the case of the world’s thinnest automatic minute repeater requires all the expertise of a fully integrated Manufacture. It involves a truly complex equation in the pursuit of a triple objective: uncompromising technical mastery, superlatively pure acoustics, as well as an aesthetic appeal orchestrated around exceptional finishing featuring alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces. No less than 1,400 hours were devoted to developing the case of the Emperador Coussin Autoamtic Minute Repeater.

Source: Piaget