Available both in 18-karat white gold (ref. 26100BC.OO.D002CR.01) and an even dressier pink gold (ref. 26100OR.OO.D088CR.01) case, the new Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronograph is equipped with an in-house AP 3124/3841 automatic caliber and features that easily recognizable, deceptively ‘understated’ design, which is both contemporary and classic.
Designed to look like vintage timekeepers from the 1920s-1930s, the Golden Decade that preceded the Great Depression, the Jules Audemars Chronograph sports an elegant eggshell-colored face with black-colored Arabic numerals and a pair of recessed sub-dials. The one at 3 o’clock is here for small seconds and the other at 9 o’clock is a 30-minute chronograph counter: this kind of bi-compax dial layout was very popular eighty years ago.
The only drawback of such a solution is a rather short time interval that can be measured with the chrono: it is limited to only 29 minutes and 59 seconds. On the other hand, in a modern watch, the chronograph serves a purely decorative function and, in this particular version, it does its job with pride.
Of course, like a real chronograph, the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars also sports a tachymeter scale on its dial that (theoretically) allows you to measure the speed of your Rolls Royce Phantom I, although doing the feat on a busy public road is perhaps the last thing one would want to do.
The whole assembly is covered with a convex sapphire crystal on the top and a flat sapphire on the back allowing you to admire the delicate decoration of the movement equipped with a 22k gold bi-directional winding rotor.
Audemars Piguet often uses third-party calibers (usually those made by the sister brand Jaeger-LeCoultre,) yet, for this line they chose to use their own Caliber AP 3124/3841, built on their in-house cal. AP 3120 with an extra 3840 Dubois Depraz-based chronograph add-on module put atop of it to increase the mechanism’s functionality, the self-winding movement is built on 59 jewels and comprises whole 400 components, all of them crafted and decorated by hand.
While the sheer number of moving parts doesn’t look particularly reassuring (in most cases, the more complex a mechanism is, the more likely it will start to misbehave in the long run,) the original cal. AP 3120 enjoys the reputation of a mechanism that somehow manages to deliver good accuracy and high dependability in a single package.
Equipped with a solid gold oscillating weight that features the AP logo and, um, the brand’s coat of arms, the movement also features beautifully executed Geneva stripes on its bridges and the circular-graining pattern on the baseplate.
Well, that is certainly the watch that one may expect from the revered Jules Audemars series!
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronograph (refs. 26100BC.OO.D002CR.01 & 26100OR.OO.D088CR.01) specification
Price range: $32,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber AP 3124/3841, yellow gold oscillating weight with Audemars Piguet Crest engraving, all parts decorated by hand, Swiss Made
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, chronograph (center seconds, 30-minute counter,) small seconds
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case: 18k white gold, 18k pink gold, sapphire crystal back
Diameter: 41.00 mm
Height: 12.60 mm
Dial: White-lacquered or offwhite-lacquered dial with black transferred Arabic numerals Black leaf-shaped hands
Water resistance: 20 meters
Strap: Brown or black crocodile leather with 18k pink or white gold AP folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire crystal, antireflective on both sides