Only Watch is a charity auction held every two years in the Principality of Monaco, in order to collect money for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Piaget has developed a special model of its Altiplano classic. It is a one-off piece with black PVD finish and a personalized back. It will be auctioned on 23 September 2011, along with another 19 watches donated by Maisons involved in the project.
Further information on Piaget boutiques available here.
Technical specifications are as follows:
40 mm case in 18-carat white gold, finished in black PVD
Sapphire glass back with "Only Watch 2011" personalization
Dauphine hands with pink gold detailing
Black alligator strap with 18-carat white gold buckle, with black PVD finish
Extra-slim squelette mechanical movement, hand-wound, Piaget 838S
Hours, minutes, seconds functions
Movement is 2.7 mm thick, and 26.8 mm in diameter
21,600 oscillations per hour
60 hours power reserve
Before the auction, the Piaget watch, along with the other 19 watches to be auctioned, can be seen in various locations of the world:
30 August 2011: Singapore (The Hour Glass)
1 September: Hong Kong (Antiquorum Auctioneers Ltd.)
3 September: Shanghai (Antiquorum Shanghai)
5 September: Beijing
7 September: Tokyo (The Hour Glass)
9 September: Los Angeles (Westime Beverly Hills)
12 Septembner: New York (Antiquorum Auctioneers Ltd)
15 September: Milan, Italy (Orologeria Luigi Verga)
16-17 September: Geneva (Antiquorum SA)
21-22 September: Monaco (Monaco Yacht Show):
23 September, 4 p.m.: auction at Hôtel Hermitage, Monaco
What is PVD coating? This is a process that creates thin film coatings for decorative finish. The acronym means "Physical Vapour Deposition," and the process is used on household appliances, door hardware, watches and jewellery, electronic components, automotive trim and marine fittings. The system utilizes one of two processes, the Low temperature arc vapour process, or the cathodic arc principle. A wide variety of colours can be obtained according to the material used. When used with gold, PVD is an alternative to gold electro-plating and gold-fill (in which gold alloy is bonded to brass and then rolled into sheet or drawn into wire). PVD films are generally very thin.
In watch-making, PVD coating is used to solve the problem of wear of the external layer of gold, particularly vulnerable to scuffs and blows. The concept is basically that the final gold-finish surface is much tougher than normal gold.
In the process, the components to be coated are placed into an airtight container, and a vacuum comparable to that of outer space is created. Argon gas is then introduced into the container. The atoms of argon are transformed into sub-atomic particles (plasma), which are then sprayed onto the components, causing their surfaces to heat up. The particle flow is then directed onto titanium, which vaporizes, and is then deposited on the objects. The titanium particles react with the component surface, creating a layer of titanium nitride (TiN). This is dense, compact, and highly resistant to wear, with a colour comparable to that of gold plating. This layer is then coated with a layer of gold, or another substance according to the final finish required.