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 (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 competes 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 as 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 an even 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 (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