AUDEMARS PIGUET, the legendary Swiss watch Manufacture based in Le Brassus unveils Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph, a limited edition timepiece model equipped with complications and clothed in a case inspired by that of a 1920s cushion-shaped pocket watch belonging to its private museum. Unveiled at SIHH 2013, the Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph is produced in two 10-piece limited editions: one in pink and white gold, and the other in titanium and white gold.
The first version, featuring a pink gold case middle topped by a white gold bezel, associated with an anthracite dial, pink gold hands and hour-markers, lends the model an original and timeless charm. The other version with its titanium case middle and white gold bezel offers the wearer the best possible auditory experience when the minute repeater is in operation.
Few people are aware that the quality of the sound emitted by a watch largely depends on the metal from which the case is made, as well as its volume. The larger the case and the lighter and harder the materials, the more it enables the acoustic waves to expand. The 47 mm titanium case thereby maximises the sound volume, thus enhancing connoisseurs’ listening pleasure.
In addition to its original design, this extraordinary instrument also houses an exceptional movement combining highly sought-after horological complications including a tourbillon regulator and a minute repeater mechanism. Assembled within a single mechanism and complemented by a chronograph function, they form a rare and outstanding whole.
The appealingly curved case of the Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph accommodates a mechanical hand-wound 13 ¼-ligne (29.90 mm) calibre that is 7.65 mm thick and comprises 504 parts – of which some of the individual elements and mechanical subsets are visible through the transparent case-back. Moreover, the 83 parts composing the one-minute rotating tourbillon with its balance oscillating at a rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour may be admired through the dial opening, thus enabling the owner of this fantastic instrument to revel in the sight of this 0.4 gram regulator of which the constant revolutions are designed to enhance the precision of the watch.
This exceptional timepiece is also superbly crafted by hand according to the highest Fine Watchmaking standards in order to reveal meticulously worked parts fully respectful of tradition.
The patient finishing work, to which specialised artisans devote hundreds of hours, is clearly visible through the transparent case-back. Finishes such as bevelling, recesses, sinks and sandblasting are required countless hours of fine craftsmanship and incredible dexterity, in a process amounting to around one-third of the price of the movement.
Among the techniques used to make this movement visually appealing, bevelling is undoubtedly the most highly appreciated manual technique, as well as that which requires the greatest accuracy. This exercise, which calls for years of experience, consists in using a file to cut down the edges of components and in polishing them with a slightly curved burnisher, so as to highlight the rim by enabling the light to play across the bevels.
These finishes serve historically functional purpose, by protecting the movement against dust and humidity, and thus any risk of oxidation. Nonetheless, these finishes and decorations will only effectively magnify the beauty of the mechanism if the technique involved in this art is fully mastered.
In the case of this model, each part has been treated with infinite care. Some components, such as the hammers of the minute repeater striking mechanism which are visible through the case-back, combine two finishes entailing highly complex execution: a mirror polish that is so fine that artisans even joke among themselves that “a glance is enough to scratch it”; along with a bevelling featuring interior and external angles embodying the ultimate expression of the artist’s mastery.
These specific angles, which can be easily pinpointed in the mechanism, may be viewed as the secret signature of the artisan, and provide undeniable proof of the authenticity of a work performed by hand because no machine could possibly produce this type of finish.
These two intense and exceptional models, with their cases featuring a particularly distinctive design, share the same Manufacture Audemars Piguet hand-wound Calibre 2874, partially visible through the case-back and ensuring a 48-hour power reserve.
This watch interpreted in pink and white gold version fitted with an alligator strap is secured to the wrist by a pink gold folding clasp, while the titanium and white gold version of this Tradition watch comes with a white gold folding clasp.
Model: Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph
Proprietary Calibre 2874, hand-wound
Total diameter: 29.90 mm (13¼ lines)
Movement thickness: 7.65 mm
Number of jewels: 38
Number of parts: 504
Minimum guaranteed power reserve: 48 hrs
Cadence of the balance: 21,600 vph
Titanium case (47 mm), glareproofed sapphire crystal and case-back, 18K white gold crown, bezel, pushpieces and case-back.
Silvered opaline dial, pink gold applied Arabic numerals and hands.
Tourbillon, chronograph, minute repeater striking on 2 gongs, hours, minutes, small seconds.
Triple complication movement
Column-wheel chronograph mechanism
Hand-finished bridges and mainplate
Hand-finished cut-out parts (polished bevels, straight-grained on top and matt surface underneath)
Hand-sewn black “large square scales” crocodile leather with 18K white gold AP folding clasp.
10-piece limited edition