In today’s watches, there is a type of watch, which is a darling in the eyes of consumers and a treasure in the eyes of the industry, but has been repeatedly rejected by experts. It is like a beautiful floating dream. We Desire for the beauty in it, indulge in it and don’t want to wake up, this is the ultra-thin watch. In 1960, Piaget took the lead in launching the world’s thinnest automatic winding movement 12P, which made a stir in watchmaking. Two years later, Eterna launched the 1466U automatic winding mechanical movement. At this time, these watch brands showed us the modern mechanical watch An important development direction is a breakthrough that has never been achieved during the pocket watch period. The clock is further miniaturized under the premise of convenience and practicality (automatic winding). In 1976, ETA 2892 based on 1466U was introduced (Eterna is the former owner of ETA). Since then, ultra-thin is no longer a patent for top watch manufacturers. As long as you want to make ultra-thin watches, there is no need to invest a lot of research and development costs. It can be easily achieved. Popular for 40 years, ETA 2892 has become a universal movement for daily ultra-thin watches. An ordinary person can own an ultra-thin watch without spending a lot of money.
Equipped with the ETA 2892-based Mido Belem Celli ultra-thin watch, about 7 mm thick
What makes ultra-thin watches attractive to us
It is true that there are countless watches on the market. When you walk into a shopping mall, you can see the counter selling watches. The broad object of watches does not seem to be able to represent any meaning. Only good watches can express the so-called wealth, Taste and fun, and in these ‘good watches’, ultra-thin can obviously be among them. So what kind of watch is an ultra-thin watch? There is no official conclusion so far, but there is also a relatively vague outline. For example, the overall thickness of an automatic watch is less than 7 millimeters, which can be regarded as ultra-thin. If it is less than 5 millimeters, then you are the industry’s best, I Give you a Like. Manual mechanical watches can often be made a little thinner, and within 6 mm is definitely an ultra-thin watch. This data is not nonsense, it has a certain theoretical basis and will be introduced later.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Ultra-Thin Master Moon Phase Watch
Now that there are a lot of watches, what does ultra-thin mean to us? Since the birth of the watch, it has a basic mission-convenience. Watches are more convenient than pocket watches. Of course, ultra-thin watches are more convenient than ordinary watches. Because it is thin enough, no matter what kind of clothes you wear, it can easily hide in the cuffs and won’t get stuck there. Light, no hand pressure, easy to wear. In addition, because of its small size, it is easy to put it in any watch case and even put it in your pocket. From the perspective of daily wearing and carrying, the ultra-thin watch undoubtedly has obvious advantages.
Piaget Altiplano Automatic Chronograph World’s Thinnest Automatic Chronograph
Slim watches certainly represent elegance. The word elegance has basically been used, and the word elegance used to describe a good watch is a bit cliché, but I still want to use the word because I believe that everyone still has a longing for elegance, and Not distorted. Elegance is not only reflected in appearance. The most important thing is the demeanor displayed in speech and manners. We can spend some money to buy elegant things, but the demeanour cannot be bought with money. This demeanor will cultivate a person. Unique vision, they will make elegant things exude true appeal. The elegance of ultra-thin watches is a style, a kind of exquisiteness, an ultimate pursuit of beauty. We find that not only watches, modern electronic products, but also in order to advocate a concept of ‘make life better’, To be extremely simple and slim, thin often means more exciting, technologically strong, easy to get close to, and placed everywhere but everywhere. The elegance of ultra-thin watches will naturally manifest when you wear it on your wrist, but we should also realize that no one can expect an ultra-thin watch to save a sloppy image. The elegance of ultra-thin watches is A icing on the cake.
Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary Watch
Why the expert is indifferent to ultra-thin
Now that ultra-thin watches give us a good vision, why aren’t experts buying so much? Experts do not buy ultra-thin accounts. This is not my subjective assumption, but there are certain facts. There are two types of experts here, one is a senior practitioner, and the other is a player or collector. If you have a friend of a watch repairer, ask him if the value of the ultra-thin watch is not worth buying. Mostly he would not recommend it because they know very well that the ultra-thin watch is prone to failure due to its high precision and small parts. And, in addition to general-purpose cores such as 2892, most ultra-thin watches are high-end products of the brand, with high maintenance costs and long cycles, which is more troublesome in summary. There is a place for everything, and you get the ultimate elegance, and naturally you have to sacrifice some durability.
What is the attitude of veteran players towards ultra-thin? Judging from the performance of the auction market over the years, ultra-thin watches rarely stand out on the auction floor. What are the amazing performances, even not many ultra-thin watches appear on the auction floor. From this perspective, ultra-thin watches are In the eyes of the players, it is generally not very impressive. However, we see that there are indeed many players who will buy watches like Piaget 9P and 12P to modify watches from some channels. They will indeed play an ultra-thin watch, but it is only a hand, and the watch that is ultimately retained is extremely Very few ultra-thin watches, unless it is some ultra-thin watches with special value, such as Jaeger-LeCoultre ultra-thin tourbillon automatic watch, Vacheron Constantin 1731 ultra-thin repeater.
Several reasons for watch factories to develop ultra-thin movements
Nevertheless, watchmakers are constantly seeking the limits of ultra-thin watches, and they continue to emphasize the craftsmanship and complexity of ultra-thin watches. For watchmakers, being able to make the thinnest watch in the world is obviously of revolutionary significance. Because it does represent the technical strength of the watch factory. According to the accuracy of current production equipment, it is not impossible to produce ultra-thin watches, but to achieve the thinnest, a watch factory often needs to overcome two difficulties. One is that the structure must be changed. Today, traditional mechanical structures The limit of thinness is basically difficult to dig deeper, so changing the mechanical structure is a direction to make the movement thinner; one is the precision of the equipment. In the ultra-thin watch, the smallest part may be the screw and the thinnest The part may be a gear. If there are ball bearings, it may be a ball inside. These parts are too small to be handled by hand, but in a very small space, the allowable production tolerance is also very small. This kind of micro-precision machining Ordinary CNC lathes can’t do it at all. This is the great part of the watch factory. Just one piece of equipment for producing such small parts is worth millions. From these two perspectives, the watch factory capable of making ultra-thin and even the thinnest watches is remarkable. They represent innovation and cutting-edge production technology.
Bulgari OCTO world’s thinnest tourbillon watch
Ultra-thin movements often pave the way for complex functions. In history, except for a few brands that regard ultra-thinness as a feature, many watch factories have not deliberately emphasized this point. For example, the Patek Philippe 240 movement is only 2.4 mm thick, which is very close to the world’s thinnest automatic movement. Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Piaget, etc., a group of top watchmakers, when they first developed ultra-thin movements, often had another purpose-to pave the way for complex functions. For a watch factory, it is not easy to develop a complex movement. At the same time, the more complex the function, the larger and thicker the movement, so how to make the complex movement thinner and easier to implement. Develop first An ultra-thin movement and a functional structure on top of it are ideal choices. Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre originally developed ultra-thin movements in order to increase the functionality. They do not need watches of each category. The movement is developed separately.
Vacheron Constantin 1731 Ultrathin Minute Repeater
Someone must be the best in the world. The progress of each industry needs to rely on some top companies to pioneer and open up the boundaries of industry development, so from this perspective, someone must be the best in the world. In the past, Earl, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Vacheron Constantin did more. Other brands join the ranks, which is obviously a good thing for the fine watchmaking industry. Although from the perspective of consumers, the thinnest watch is often impractical, and Citizen’s thinnest solar watch has an error of up to tens of seconds per day, but to quote a sentence ‘This kind of innovation is much more important than the practical use of innovation.’ .
So, why are ultra-thin watches thin? Obviously this is not a question with a fixed answer. When you look at this question from different angles, the result will be completely different. For me, of course I like ultra-thin watches, and I am happy to consume an ultra-thin watch, just for the comfort and elegance of a wrist, but as long as it is not too fragile, so do not pursue the thinnest, but also It has to be affordable.