Embargoes or no embargoes, it is hard to keep photos of a new exciting product safely stored away when it’s only a couple of clicks that are in the way between you and the hype train, so it’s no wonder that pictures of the new Audemars Piguet Millenary Carbon One Tourbillon Chronograph (Ref. 26152AU.OO.D002CR.01) hand-wound wristwatch were available for some time now. However, it was only last week that the Swiss manufacture officially presented the timepiece to the attendees of this year’s SIHH 2010 event that was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The new version of the watch basically sports the same proportions that are often referred to as “traditional” when someone tries to describe yet another member of the Millenary collection proportions.
Featuring the same familiar shape, and (what’s even more important) outrageous dimensions that easily dwarf even a wrist of a professional bodybuilder, the new watch nevertheless looks like the IBM Roadrunner supercomputer near the Apple Macintosh 128K when compared to traditional models (and I am not only talking about the difference in price although the over-US$300,000 price sticker that the Swiss brand plans to attach to the new timekeeper will certainly raise some eyebrows, but also about the technological advances in watchmaking industry that were necessary to make the piece possible.)
The reason for my excitement here lies not only in its stunning one-minute tourbillon complication that is itself a technological marvel, but also in the choice of materials employed to build this specimen.
Compared to the traditional combinations of steel, gold, and, sometimes, platinum, the wide use of forged carbon (not only case, but also the mainplate of the Caliber AP 2884 twin-barrel hand-wound movement,) ceramic (used for bezel, crown and chronograph pushpieces: the usual Great Attractors of dings and scratches,) as well as titanium (caseback cover) makes it look… Hm… Well, of course, it doesn’t look beautiful (at least not until you find beautiful something as bizarre as a warthog,) but it seems to form a perfect ensemble of materials needed to build something as advanced as the Terminator.
Of course, what I am referring here to is not the clumsy T-600 or that hateful liquid-metal T-1000, but rather the more humane T-850 series (Okay, I know that the guy prefers the special-edition Royal Oak Offshore, but I am also quite sure that he’d never decline this one, too, if offered in a polite fashion.)
Its skeletonized dial layout with contrasting gray, white and red elements looks too busy and, judging by real-life wrist-shots, makes the tiny hour and minute hands disappear in the intricate mesh of gears, barrels and the tourbillon carriage.
So far, this is one of the least legible skeletonized watches I have ever seen.
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Millenary Carbon One Tourbillon Chronograph (Ref. 26152AU.OO.D002CR.01) specification
Price range: $330,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber AP 2884, twin-barrel mainspring, 30 jewels, 336 parts, 9.7 mm high, 38.4 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Frequency: 21,600 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Complications: Chronograph, one-minute tourbillon
Power reserve: 240 hours (10 days)
Case material: Forged carbon
Bezel material: Black ceramic
Case shape: Ovoid
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire
Case size: 47.00 x 42.00 mm
Dial: Black and white with red elements, skeletonized
Hands: Stainless steel, black with luminescent substance
Strap: Crocodile leather
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflection coated
Water resistance: 20 meters