Piaget’s Serene Green Altiplano Origin Is An Ultra-Thin Tribute To “The Roof Of The World”
— 13 October 2022

Piaget’s Serene Green Altiplano Origin Is An Ultra-Thin Tribute To “The Roof Of The World”

— 13 October 2022
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Following its warmly received collaboration with Zenith and legendary indie watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, Phillips is once again dipping its toe into the co-op design game – this time with Piaget. The two venerable houses have just debuted their first watch release together: a 21-piece limited edition, based on Piaget’s emblematic Altiplano dress watch and inspired by the breathtaking vistas of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Although 99% of the run will be available exclusively to Mainland Chinese retailers, this Altiplano Origin wouldn’t be much of a Phillips release if there wasn’t an auctioneer’s angle. Fortunately, a single example (numbered 00/22) will be going up for bidding on 28 November later this year: at Phillips’ customary biannual Hong Kong Watch Auction, now into its 15th consecutive edition.

All but mechanically identical to the mainline Altiplano Origin, the latest Phillips crossover is still worthy of closer scrutiny – if for no other reason than the incorporation of several unique aesthetic elements. That said, the movement boasts a 44-hour power reserve and a micro-rotor – with Piaget’s super-flat bridgework still as quixotic (in a good way) as ever under the proverbial loupe.

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Phillips x Piaget

Geography has, of course, long been a rich seam of inspiration for Piaget. The Altiplano collection is itself named after the eponymous “high plain” that stretches across Chile, Bolivia and Peru – dwarfed only in size by (you guessed it) the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

A vast expanse at the intersection of South, Central, and Eastern Asia is flanked by Mount Everest and K2, this area (conservatively covering 2.5 million sq km) has been referred to by various mountaineers and explorers over the centuries as “the Roof of the World.” Satellite imagery and photographs taken at high altitudes show off a spectrum of vibrant green hues – these becoming the jumping-off point for the present Phillips x Piaget collab.

Whereas your garden variety Altiplano can sometimes appear two-dimensional – understandably, given the eyewatering thinness at the heart of this collection – the design teams at Phillips and Piaget have successfully added a sensation of depth to this Altiplano Origin – achieved by applying three layers of lacquer, all of differing volumes, to the watch’s dial. The very sanguine shades of green that Piaget opted to use are given a warm, vaguely luminous tinge – the result of using indexes plated in pink gold and printed branding in the same tone.

Piaget x Phillips

Watch nerds will have already noticed the usage of a decoupled sub-seconds – about the only thing this piece shares in common with Baltic’s punchy MR01 – yet even here, there are subtle dissimilarities to the standard Altiplano Origin.

A radially brushed finish helps external light to play across the sub-dial in satisfying fashion, while the only conspicuous iconography is the star which marks the 60-second position. Rather than banal associations with the ‘red star’ of the PRC flag, this tiny flourish is meant to evoke the “brightest North Star” which travellers can glimpse across the Plateau under an evening sky – a fitting metaphor for a watch that, for many of us mere mortals, will remain ever so slightly out of reach.

Valued by auctioneers at an initial estimate of US$32,000 (AU$50,958), you can register to bid online for this cerulean green one-off at the link below.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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