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Audemars Piguet - Showing a strong hand

Audemars Piguet Showing a strong hand

Audemars Piguet is playing several cards in order to maintain its prestige. The year 2016 appears to be focused on two key areas: horological complications and ladies’ watches.

Ladies first, and in this respect, Audemars Piguet is pulling out all the stops in the most glamorous and image-boosting domain of all: High Jewellery models. The brand has been producing such watches for some time now, showing a strongly renewed interest in them over the past three years. Rejuvenated, electrified and infinitely trendier, the Audemars Piguet interpretation of the jewellery watch has become an object that is both fascinating and above all surprising – an indispensable quality for making an impact in this overcrowded niche. The name of the latest example of this brilliant expertise is Fury and the model certainly lives up to it. A multi-facetted object flaunting taut, radical lines, this full-pavé cuff watch is lit up by just over 4,800 stones – and that astounding figure is no typo! But above and beyond the feat it embodies and the light sparkling off these gems, Fury is a signature piece epitomising a desire for bold aesthetics.

Showing a strong hand

This intention is also clearly shared by the other feminine launch of 2016, although the new Millenary jewellery models are far more demure and less dramatically edgy, instead opting for a more refined approach. The oval case, which has become a signature feature of Audemars Piguet ladies’ watches, is still equipped with its dedicated mechanical hand-wound movement, Calibre 5205, which can be admired in all its splendour. The geometrical play on materials and gemsetting follows the curves of the watch and its ‘engine’, further enhanced by the supremely elegant contrast between pink gold, diamonds, pearls and onyx.

Showing a strong hand

For Audemars Piguet, the art of horological complications is as natural as breathing. The brand has built its reputation on its chronographs, its perpetual calendars, its minute repeaters and its tourbillons. In 2016, it is asserting its expertise in this field in a manner that is both classic and innovative. On the classic side, the brand is introducing a Royal Oak perpetual calendar with a revamped movement driving a week-number display in addition to the customary calendar indications. Audemars Piguet emphasises the fact that this watch is entirely made of yellow gold and this metal has indeed become much rarer than it used to be, although it has never entirely disappeared from the back pages of brand catalogues.

Showing a strong hand

As far as innovative complications are concerned, Audemars Piguet is officially launching a watch initially presented last year as a concept model. The Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie is now a model available for purchase, rather than merely a prototype designed to highlight its acoustic inventions. While its tourbillon, chronograph and minute repeater has been produced by the Maison for some time now, considerable research in collaboration with the EPFL has been devoted to the exterior with the aim of making the chime even more tuneful and clearly audible. The resulting case is the most three-dimensional, imposing and radical ever produced by the brand.

Showing a strong hand

The finest example of an innovative Audemars Piguet movement is housed in the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watch. Nothing apparently distinguishes it from existing Royal Oak Skeleton models. Available in pink gold and steel versions, this 41 mm model is in fact in a size category of its own, although that aspect does not immediately catch the eye – at least no more than the pink gold balance-bridge that makes a pleasing contrast with the grey shades of the watch case and bracelet. Yet that’s where the world premiere feature is to be found. Audemars Piguet has already experimented with the double balance spring, and this time uses a double balance wheel. Fitted on the same balance staff, two balance-wheels, each twinned with a balance spring, regulate the rate of the watch. While one might be tempted to say this has already been seen elsewhere, that is only true for two escapements working in tandem and linked by a differential. There is nothing like that here, since the two balance-wheels are set against each other and coordinated without any differential. We will come back at a later date to this fine new concept that is a vintage embodiment of the excellence cultivated by AP.

Showing a strong hand


The brand

Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry, ever since the company was first established in 1875.

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