Friday, December 28, 2012
Ring in the new: Piaget Emperador Coussin XL Ultra Thin Minute Repeater
This stunning new watch will be putting in an appearance at SIHH 2013 next month. It’s the Piaget Emperador Coussin XL Ultra Thin Minute Repeater. A watch crafted entirely in-house, with the movement, Calibre 1290P, entirely developed, produced, decorated and assembled at the Piaget manufacture in La Côte-aux-Fées. It’s a movement which took a team of six engineers three years to produce. Among major complications, the minute repeater is particularly difficult to create especially one that includes, as this one does, an automatic winding mechanism and and an exceptionally thin design. The case was made in Piaget’s workshops in Plan-Les-Oautes.
The 1290P minute repeater movement represents the fourth major complication developed by Piaget, which over the past 14 years has created 35 in-house movements, including 11 comprising major complications. Some of these include notable calibres like the 600P (the world’s thinnest hand-wound shaped tourbillon), 880P (ultra-thin automatic chronograph), 855P (ultra-thin automatic perpetual calendar) and 1270P (ultra-thin automatic tourbillon).
Calibre 1290P’s micro-rotor was crafted in platinum in order to guarantee the best possible winding power with a minimum thickness. For the ultimate precision, the movement boasts 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. And the minute repeater sounds at 65 decibels in volume.
Decoration for the movements was done entirely done by hand; the bridges bevelled and hand drawn with a file, sunburst or circular satin-brushed wheels, pink gold-toned screws and oscillating weight, mirror-polished finishing.
The 48 mm-diameter case comprises 69 parts, hollowed out as much as possible to achieve the best resonance for the transmission of sound. Four braces secure it to the movement to ensure the transmission of the gong vibration. The gong base is connected to both the movement and the exterior via four screws. A mechanism beneath the bezel is designed to ensure the watch’s water resistance.
The dial of the watch is open-worked which allows a view of the intricate mechanism, with intricately manufactured hour markers, crafted from 18-karat rose gold.
The slide at 9 o’clock triggers the minute repeater on demand, with the sound generated by the vibrations of a gong struck by hammers. These are made of steel for an ideal hardness-to-weight ratio. In order to preserve the purity of the sound Calibre 1290P is equipped with an inertia flywheel to regulate the rhythm between the start and finish of the chiming. Striking in the fifth octave, the hours are pitched at G sharp, and the minutes at A sharp. Despite using a fixed gong, Piaget’s repeater sound has three virtually harmonic partials.
As mentioned, the new Piaget Emperador Coussin XL Ultra Thin Minute Repeater will debut next month in Geneva at SIHH 2013 and will be priced at a distinctly high decibel $250,000.