Saturday, October 20, 2012

Is Thinner the better?

Royal Oak 1972 Jumbo 39mm Calibre 2121 Taken By HTC One
Since the time we had pocket watch, Swiss watch makers were doing their best to design a thinner watch to show off their technology and skill of watch-making. Gradually when wrist watch is replacing Pocket watch, this game of going thinner had been started already!!
Until the year I was borne, 1957, Piaget created the 2mm thick hand wind movement 9P. more and more watcher is going for thinner, Vacheron Constantin, Universal, JLC.
Ultimately with lot of works and experiment, Piaget invented another 2.3mm Automatic Watch movement 12P.
Then a new company Jean Lassale which was established in 1976 successfully made a thin movement to a merely thickness of about 1.2 mm. Jean Lassale created the world record of super thin Calibre 1200 in 1976 and then the automatic Calibre 2000 one year after.

Thin watch is an equivalent of better quality watch was the mindset of most of collector or connosieuer for watch. As no other small company could beat this with launch of thinner watch. So  the big player like VC, PP, Piaget kept making thin watch with 35mm dia. to satisfy the world…

1990, Panerai  swiped the market with a new wave of  “New”, “Large” and “Expensive” to bring us enter to this Happy Land of Dinosaurs, till 15 Sept 2008, Lehman Brothers went bankruptcy,… this episode carried the label of big watch back to stone age. Watch makers then issue watches with Standard, Low profile, Complicated and Traditional watch still able to take major portion of the market share. Till 2010.  Piaget perfect with an new 1208P which was modified base on the blue print of 12P, to continue the legend of a thin watch, immediately made me recalled those name of thin watch; LeCoultre, Frederic Piguet, Lemania..etc

Thinner is better but tougher, in order to maintain the accurate time keeping, thinner watch has no room for you to play around. A small second point hand wind watch may require same or even more effort to build an automatic watch that come with date! As most of the time is required to fine tune the 5 Positions precision , some times it may re-setup again and again!

Time seems has stopped by AP since 1972, as after 40th anniversary, AP Royal Oak 39mm super thin watch still maintaining the use of 2122 movement, that has been used since 1972,  the watch has a thickness is 3.05 mm, Same movement are also being deployed by PP and VC on their watches.

This is one of the reason that man people is searching for the early AP RO using 2121 movement, and that watch has been the hot item in recent auctions.

HK Snob

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