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There’s no company better known than Piaget for making the kind of watch that was once the last word in elegance: thin, gold, and automatic.  Piaget originally made its name and reputation for both ultra luxurious jewelry watches for ladies, and for creating some of the thinnest movements –and thus, thinnest watches –ever made.  Now that classicism is back in style (and really, was it ever out?) Piaget’s star is on the rise, with its super soigné men’s watches like the Altiplano (a mere whisper over 5mm thick) appearing on discerning wrists everywhere.

At the top of its pinnacle of artistry, though, is the new-for-2011 Emperador Coussin Tourbillon Automatic Ultra Thin.  The creation of an ultra thin tourbillon is a challenge in itself, since the mechanism requires additional height in the movement of the watch due to its very nature.  A tourbillon, as Haute Time regulars know, is a rotating carriage that contains the watch’s regulating components; it’s designed to both improve the accuracy of a watch (by reducing the disturbing effects of gravity) and, nowadays, it’s also an act of pure horological showmanship, designed to delight the eye as much as impress your inner engineer.

The Emperador Coussin Tourbillon Automatic is superlative as both science and art –the heart of the watch is its movement, the self-winding tourbillon calibre 1270P, which required three years for Piaget to develop and which packs 269 components (including the flying tourbillon) into a movement that is only 5.55mm thin (for reference, that’s thinner than many simple time-only automatic movements and nothing short of unheard of for a tourbillon.)  The entire case is only 10.4mm thick, and nothing gets in the way of the wearer’s ability to appreciate both the movement of the tourbillon (it’s the variety known as a “flying” tourbillon, so-called because it does without the upper bridge that partially blocks the view of most other tourbillons) and the movement of the gold micro-rotor oscillating weight that keeps the watch wound by harvesting energy from the movement of the watch on the wrist.

The dial is a stellar composition –literally; the eye is drawn to the display of the time by the sunburst (starburst?) markers radiating from the hands.  A combination of the best of Piaget’s unparalleled expertise in extra flat watchmaking with its equally superlative mastery of elegant design, the Emperador Coussin Tourbillon Automatic’s the last word in resplendent refinement.

The Emperador Coussin Tourbillon Automatic Ultra Thin is available in 18k pink gold.  Price available upon request from Piaget.

Jack Forster is the Editor in Chief of Revolution Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating the world of fine watchmaking, and he also manages Revolution Online the foremost information and discussion site on the internet for watch enthusiasts.

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