AP will soon present its new Audemars Piguet Millenary Minute Repeater (Ref. 26371Ti.OO.D002CR.01) hand-wound watch. Crafted from ultra-lightweight titanium, the oversized body of the piece is not going to be a burden on your wrist any more (if you will be able to bear an outrageously heavy price tag of some $470,000 USD, that is). The official premiere of the timekeeper is scheduled for the upcoming SIHH 2011 trade show that will take place in January, 2011.
While some premium watchmakers concentrate their efforts on creating timepiece that look “scandalous” and “daring,” the real super-brands like Audemars Piguet tend to go the other way around: they build their watches around daringly innovative mechanisms.
The new Audemars Piguet Millenary Minute Repeater watch is one of these rare examples.
Although some persons will buy this watch mostly for its unconventional look, its main selling point is the new manual-wind movement, which is equipped with a reworked version of the lubrication free escapement created by Audemars Piguet.
The modified escapement is still based on a mid-eighteenth century design by certain Robert Robin, but also offers a new construction of the balance wheel, which is composed not of a single balance- spring, but of two balance-springs placed top to tail.
According to the company, the new system combines high efficiency of a direct impulse escapement (meaning the balance wheel receives an impulse directly from the escape wheel) with the robustness of the time-proven Swiss lever escapement.
Compared to the traditional Swiss lever escapement that didn’t change much during the last 200 years, the new system allows for better efficiency (and therefore extended power reserve,) higher accuracy (it ensures automatic compensation for potential poising flaws) and makes the module easier to make since it eliminates the need for the overcoil terminal curves.
As it is often done with these types of movement, the three-barrel AP Caliber 2910 uses two different energy storage facilities that supply power for the time-measuring device and for the minute repeater module.
The first pair of barrels allows for a power reserve of 165 hours (almost 7 days!) and the third barrel is reserved for the minute repeater.
Since the striking mechanism and its gongs require enormous (on this scale) flow of power, the third barrel is also huge, being two and a half times larger than normal components.
Other highlights of the mechanism include a balance-stop system and a new winding safety system that prevents time-setting while the striking mechanism is chiming its notes.
The watch is delivered in a traditional for the Millenary line oval-shaped case in brushed titanium, which is for some unknown reason left non-water-resistant.
The bezel of the same shape is done in polished titanium that provides the Audemars Piguet Millenary Minute Repeater with its superb looks.
The oval-shaped dial of the watch leaves enough space to show current time and also display the very flat opposite-facing double balance-spring system that makes the watch so interesting.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Millenary Minute Repeater manual-wind watch (Ref. 26371Ti.OO.D002CR.01) specification
Price: $470,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Audemars Piguet Calibre 2910, 37.90 mm in major diameter, 32.90 in minor diameter, 10.05 mm in height, 443 parts, in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Winding: Hand-wound (manual)
Functions: Hour, minutes, small seconds, minute repeater
Power reserve: 165 hours
Case material: Titanium, brushed
Bezel material: Titanium, polished
Case shape: Ellipse
Bezel shape: Ellipse
Case size: 47.00 mm x 42.00 mm
Case height: No data
Dial: Anthracite grey dial, applied pink gold Roman numerals, silvered small seconds sub-dial
Water resistance: Non-water-resistant
Strap: Hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap, titanium AP folding clasp
Case back: Sapphire