The new Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Moon-Phase Calendar (Ref. 26385OR.OO.A088CR.01) automatic watch in rose gold was officially presented last month at SIHH 2011 industry event. Although the dressy timekeeper doesn’t bring to the table anything new both in terms of ergonomics and industrial design, I’ll tell you this: a classic calendar watch has never looked so beautiful.
Equipped with the relatively new ultra-thin AP Caliber 2324/2825 automatic movement (as far as I understand, the mechanism is based on an extensively re-worked Caliber 889/2 that Jaeger-LeCoultre sells to other premium brands including Vacheron Constantin (primarily the Overseas collection) and IWC and uses a third-party complication module, that is probably supplied by Dubois-Depraz) the watch is presented in a very slim and elegant rose gold case 39 millimeters in diameter and only 8.80 millimeters thick.
The 39 mm has long been considered a de facto gold standard for the niche of dressy timekeepers, but there are a precious few of those available in slim cases, especially when it comes to “complication” models. After all, high-grade calibers that combine precision, high build quality, and robustness in a compact package have never been cheap and are even more expensive now being mechanisms of choice for watches that retail in $30k-$50k price range.
With its deliberately understated styling, the new timekeeper quietly speaks the same design language as the rest of the rejuvenated Jules Audemars family: the hour and minute hands are leaf-shaped and meticulously polished, and the silvered dial with its impeccable sunburst finish is decorated with hand-applied baton-shaped hour markers.
The dial itself is perfectly legible with the calendar counters at 3 (days) and 9 (days of week) o’clock sporting fine, easy to read Arabic numerals and standard abbreviations respectively.
It would be nice to have a small seconds sub-dial combined with the moonphase display at 6 o’clock. From where I stand, it wouldn’t “overload” the dial with functions while making the timepiece more usable, but I think I get the thinking of AP’s designers: an extra moving part would probably have destroyed the serene aura of the dial (and, probably, make the mechanism a bit thicker.)
Unfortunately, there are no quick corrector buttons here: all functions of the watch are operated with the same setting crown at 3 o’clock.
Still, even despite minor flaws, it seems that the new watch is going to be one of the best-selling moon-phase timekeepers of the year in its price niche.
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Moon-Phase Calendar (Ref. 26385OR.OO.A088CR.01) automatic watch specification
Price: $31,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, AP Caliber 2324/2825, 26.60 mm in diameter, 4.60 mm in height, 45 jewels, 215 components, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Mainplate beveled and circular-grained, bridges adorned with Cotes de Geneve motif; all components are decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, moonphase, date, day of week
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case material: Rose gold
Bezel material: Rose gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 39.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 8.80 mm
Hands: Rose gold, leaf-shaped
Water resistance: 20 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn brown crocodile leather with large square scales, with a pin buckle in 18-carat rose gold
Case back: Sapphire