At the recently concluded SIHH 2014 Piaget has unveiled a unique watch engraved using traditional scrimshaw method. The Piaget Altiplano Scrimshaw takes us back to old seafaring days and Stone Age times as well with a dial made of a 40,000 year old mammoth ivory.
The Piaget Altiplano Scrimshaw housed in a 38 mm case is available in pink or white gold. Its power is supplied by the in-house built 400P ultra-thin caliber movement. Information on this area is still thin, more could be expected when the limited edition is made official.
Origins of scrimshaw art form dates back 6,000 years to Eskimos and Inuits in North America. Eskimos used whale and walrus ivory and bones for artwork – this art of engraving and carving on bones is called scrimshaw. In the 18th century whalers who had plenty of time on hand and an unlimited supply of whale bones and teeth used the Eskimo-Inuit old techniques and improved upon it for their artwork. Piaget stayed closed to the original techniques by using needles to scratch against very smooth ivory.
The Altiplano Scrimshaw dial features a map of the Eastern Hemisphere. Engraving done by master engraver Richard Maier requires over 65 hours of hand-engraving for each dial. Once the map design was decided, using traditional burin engraving techniques the hemisphere lines and continent outlines were marked. Then shading was done by making tiny holes using needles of various diameters in the ivory. As final step of the process the dial is inked in various stages to achieve different shades and the map to take form.
The artfully decorated dial is available in two variations – slightly brown tones for the rose gold version and off-white and greyish tones for white gold. Mammoth ivory is not something you find everyday so only a limited edition of 40 pieces each from pink gold and white gold will be made. Hodinkee notes even this number is not a given.
Though price information is not announced it is expected to be in the range of CHF 50,000 (approx. $56,000).