If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare, you can get yourself one of the world’s thinnest watches.
Similar to how smartphones get thinner and thinner as technology progresses, watchmakers, strive to achieve “ultra-flat” specs for watch models as well. Besides looking sleek and lightweight (the main aesthetic and functional appeal of slim watches), they’re also a product of masterful micro-engineering.
Since Piaget introduced the manual wind caliber 9P in 1957, consumers discovered how thin a watch with automatic movement could actually be. At only 2 millimeters, the well-known Piaget model is a hand-wound mechanical watch that houses 89 components. Since the 9P’s introduction, watch enthusiasts’ demand for ultra-thin watches has rocketed.
At the 2018 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), the Swiss watchmaker and jeweler first presented the thinnest watch in the world through the Altiplano Ultimate Concept. With a case thickness of 2 mm, ultra-thin crystal, and innovative construction for its barrel and energy regulation, the Altiplano Ultimate Concept was showcased as a Piaget novelty creation and not commercially produced.
Two years later, at the annual Watches and Wonders event, they announced that the model, which was once an ambitious experiment, is fully developed and available to purchase. Retailing for $400,000 apiece, the Altiplano is so thin that only 0.12 mm of cobalt material is in between the wearer’s skin movement.
With Piaget’s history of successful watch miniaturization, other luxury watchmakers release their models marketed as their thinnest pieces.
Here are the top five “ultra-thin” watches after Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept. Although there’s no industry standard for what measurement makes a timepiece “ultra-thin”, all these watches are under 8 mm and worth hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater
Released in 2016, Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater has a thickness of 3.12 mm and a diameter of 28.50 mm. By utilizing low-density titanium, the watch’s case is 6.85 mm. By developing “BVL Caliber 362,” a type of movement created in-house, Bulgari was able to make this model-thin without sacrificing balanced acoustics. It retails for $160,000.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica 11
For a thin watch, the Hybris Mechanica 11 holds features like a flying tourbillon and an automatic winding system with a thickness of only 7.9 mm. You can wear it on casual and formal occasions with a vintage look highlighted by its leather band and dial. The Jaeger-Lecoultre piece’s price is estimated at $420,000.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra Thin Calibre
When released in 2009, this Vacheron Constantin piece broke the world record for the thinnest manual-winding minute repeater, which measures 3.9 mm. In addition, it has a 65-hour power reserve and a minimal aesthetic, apt for any occasion. Its estimated price is around $365,000.
Arnold & Son Ultra-Thin Tourbillon Escapement
The Arnold & Son UTTE comes in either rose gold or palladium case, which measures 8.34 mm in thickness, while its tourbillon measures 2.97 mm. The thinness of the latter bagged the contemporary Swiss watchmaker the world’s slimmest tourbillon title in the 2013 Baselworld event. Its estimated price is around $73,500.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377
With a thickness of 3 mm and a diameter of 40mm, the Breguet piece boasts an industrial yet elegant design. Released in Baselworld in 2014, the 3mm tourbillon is enclosed in a 7mm-thick silver case. In addition to the Classique’s thinness and exposed-gear design, the watch has a 90-hour power reserve and automatic winding. The model launched in 2014 and has an estimated price of $137,000.
Banner photo from @alekswatches on Instagram.