Thirty years ago, Audemars Piguet revealed world’s first ultra-thin self-winding perpetual calendar. This year, the Manufacture presented its special anniversary edition Jules Audemars 30th Anniversary Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 26000PT.OO.D028CR.01).
Limited to only 90 examples that can be produced each year, this wonderful wristwatch features the self-winding Caliber 2120/2802. Being a version of the iconic Caliber 920 that Jaeger-LeCoultre manufactures for Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin, it is just 4 millimeters thick.
Being one of the thinnest “high-complication” calibers on the market, each mechanism is made to tolerances that were unimaginable for the industry even two or maybe three decades ago and is assembled, decorated, and adjusted by the hands of their top artisans. With hundreds of hours of highly-skilled labor invested into each timekeeper, just close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath, and…try to imagine its price.
The ultra-thin movement is built on 38 and comprises a whole 355 parts, most of which are less than 1 millimeter thick.
Yes, you can find thinner automatic movements on the market, but most of them will offer you a less spectacular micro-rotor design and the list of their functions will be significantly shorter.
And, frankly, I highly doubt that you will be able to find another ultra-thin perpetual calendar watch that features not only the usual day of the week, date, and months, but also less frequently occurred moon-phase and leap year cycle complications.
The company says that the perpetual calendar will not require correction before March 1st, 2100 meaning that even your grandson won’t have to bother every four years with these annoying leap-year cycles.
Like it always the cases with any perpetual calendar, the timekeeper’s face is overloaded with information looking like a dashboard in the cockpit of a bomber plane.
While the pair of sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock that indicate the date and the day of the week respectively are clean and easy to read, the sub-dials at 6 and 12 o’clock are not that easy to deal with.
Besides the usual moon phase indicator, the display at 6 o’clock also shows a scale for the moon-month, while the sub-dial at 12 o’clock has a pair of hands, the longer indicating the current month and the shorter indicating leap years.
On the other hand, the layout of the sub-dials is logical: you can easily read the most important data (current day and date, as well as time,) while the moon phase and leap year indicators are here more for esthetic and technical purposes.
It would be logical, too, that the leap year would be printed in the same red color as the smaller hand, but (possibly trying to preserve the monochromatic pattern) AP’s designers decided to print them in the same white as the rest of the numerals and abbreviations.
Well, the dial is still legible and, once you get used to it, won’t require unnecessary effort to read all the presented data with a single short glance.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Jules Audemars 30th Anniversary Perpetual Calendar by Audemars Piguet (Ref. 26000PT.OO.D028CR.01) specification
Price range: $100,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Calibre AP 2120/2802, ultra-thin, self-winding, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Complications: Day, date, month, moon-phases, leap-year cycle
Power reserve: 40 hours
Diameter: 41.00 mm
Case height: 9.15 mm
Dial: Tuscany blue dial with white gold applied hour-markers. The white gold hour and minute hands
Water resistance: 20 meters
Strap: “Large square-scale” hand-sewn alligator leather with platinum AP folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating