For the year 2011, Audemars Piguet has updated its “modern classic” Jules Audemars line with a discreet Jules Audemars Small Seconds model in 18-karat white gold (Ref. 77238BC.OO.A002CR.01).
The Jules Audemars Small Seconds is powered by the well-known AP Caliber 3090 hand-wound movement that offers some two days of uninterrupted operation and beats at a pretty slow pace of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour.
Being compact and slim, the movement is a perfect choice for a classic-styled “ladies watch”, which is supposed to be of smaller diameter and, at the same time, look relatively thin.
While Audemars Piguet has never been particularly shy about using third-party mechanisms to power even their most expensive timepieces, this one, as far as I know, is a one hundred percent in-house job with every step -from initial design and going all the way to a finished movement- being done by their own staff and at their own manufacturing facilities.
Sporting a bit archaic-looking four-bridge top-plate layout, it was designed to compete with the iconic Patek Philippe caliber 215 PS unit (it, for example, powers the gorgeous Patek Philippe Calatrava 4897 R model), which is a bit larger in diameter, but still a bit thinner from top to bottom.
As usual, the mechanism is nicely yet discreetly decorated with the easy to recognize Geneva stripes and some light beveling. The whole engine is put together using screws with polished (but, regretfully, not heat-blued) heads.
Being with us for almost a decade now, the movement has a reputation of a robust and reliable mechanism: something that a dressy watch designed with a business person in mind needs.
This particular Jules Audemars Small Seconds model comes in a delicate round case 33 millimeters in diameter and is only 7 mm thick. With its organically shaped lugs, the case will certainly feel good even on a thinner wrist.
As you can see, despite being crafted from an expensive white gold alloy, it is a fairly featureless job. However, I have the impression that this lack of fancy angles and/or curves is not evidence of a lack of creativity on the brand’s side. I would rather say that this new Jules Audemars Small Seconds is deliberately styled in the most discreet way that is possible for a wristwatch designed with a modern business lady in mind.
It was not designed to be worn at parties or even as an accessory for a cocktail dress. Its purpose is to be worn by a person who presides at a board of directors of a huge transnational corporation.
The dial also looks nice or, for a lack of another word, has an aura of cold elegance about it, although the leaf-shaped hour and minute hands could have been a trifle thinner to better match the applied baton-shaped hour markers done in rose gold.
The darkish grey color of the dial serves as almost a perfect background for the rose gold hands and the traditional sunburst pattern on it increases the level of contrast to even a higher level making it a perfectly readable ‘day’ watch.
Besides the hands’ issue, it is almost a perfect timepiece for those spending most of their lives in business attire: highly-legible, elegant, dressy, and reliable.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Small Seconds (Ref. 77238BC.OO.A002CR.01) specification
Price: $19,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-Wound, AP Caliber 3090, 21,600 vph, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: White gold
Size: 33.00 mm
Case height: 6.95 mm
Dial: Silver, satin-brushed
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 20 meters
Strap: Leather with 18-karat white gold pin buckle