Without a doubt, the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronometer ref. 26153 is one of the most impressive timepieces within AP and its Jules Audemars collection. This collection that is barely known by most people out there but truly loved by the real Audemars Piguet fans is comprised by classical looking timepieces like this one and by watches that are the best example of the rich horological history and expertise of the manufacture from Le Brassus —the oldest watch manufacture still in the hands of the descendants of its founders. The Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronometer ref. 26153 is as impressive to the eyes as it is from an horological standpoint. This watch available in 18K rose gold or 950 platinum is fitted with a robust and generous 46 mm case with satin brushed finished case band and mirror polished lugs and bezel. Featuring two subdials in black enamel and black lacquer that allow for unobstructed view of the movement mainplate with NAC galvanic finish, this timepiece is simply gorgeous.
Following a tridimensional construction, its aesthetics lead the eyes straight to the small seconds display made of black lacquer with white transfers located at 6 o'clock, then to the hours and minutes on the black enamel subdial with white Roman numerals at 12 o'clock and lastly to the two mainspring barrels located on either side of the latter. Another element on the dial that flies under the radar and is not as prominent visually speaking is the differential power reserve indicator at 7 o'clock, directly engraved onto the mainplate of the movement. But the element that really takes the center stage on this dial is the Audemars Piguet manufacture escapement and the double balance springs. This escapement on the AP in-house manual wound calibre 2908 appears to reach out from the plate in a bid to stamp its unique authority on the watch.
Fitted with two balance springs positioned one on top of the other —offset by 180°—,
these two springs automatically compensate for any balancing defects. The system of dual 'opposing' flat balance-springs have the following advantages: no more balance spring 'end curves' pioneered by Breguet and Phillips, which require painstaking construction, and thus the end to defects caused by the slight asymmetric balance-spring development; automatic compensation for any balance spring balancing defects, thus improving accuracy; prevents errors caused by the watch’s vertical position.
Explaining the Audemars Piguet Escapement
The new Audemars Piguet escapement system takes its inspiration from the mechanism proposed by Robin. This direct-impulse escapement has a large number of advantages, including full shock resistance. Its innovative design and outstanding performance render this patented system a minor revolution in watchmaking mechanics. It heralds the new generation of Audemars Piguet movements and furthers the performances of the watches produced by the manufacture.
The new escapement will shortly be fitted to the brand’s complication movements and ultimately, in a few years time, to all the Audemars Piguet mechanical movements. The new AP design hosts a number of technical features far superior to the traditional Swiss lever escapement as follows:
- Detached pin-pallet escapement: a single impulse corresponds to two vibrations, causing fewer setting disturbances and very high efficiency.
- Improved chronometry: the spring balance isochronism may be adjusted by moving the quiescent point with respect to the impulse given to the balance thus reducing mechanical disturbances at the escapement increases movement accuracy.
- Optimum long-term stability: tests performed over the last five years have shown that this escapement has excellent operational stability.
- High efficiency: with the conventional Swiss lever system, the escapement absorbs around 70% of the energy; the new AP system reduces this figure to 50%, enabling a significant boost in efficiency over traditional designs.
- No lubrication on the lifts: the special geometry of the Audemars Piguet escapement means no lubrication —a watchmaker’s dream— which facilitates maintenance and prevents greasy paste build up after oil evaporation.
- Direct impulse on balance: energy is transmitted directly from the escapement to the balance without passing through a pallet fork, which limits energy losses by improving efficiency.
- Excellent shock resistance: the meticulous shape of the various components —especially the guard pin— and their ultra precise cut out provide maximum security against tripping and over-banking.
The beating heart inside the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronometer ref. 26153 is the new manual wound in-house calibre 2908 composed of 267 parts and 33 jewels and which measures almost 40 mm in diameter.
This COSC movement features the new lubrication-free direct impulse Audemars Piguet escapement, twin mainspring barrels in parallel, differential power reserve, stop of the balance when setting the time, two balance springs positioned one on top of the other offset by 180° and white gold NAC galvanic treated mainplate.
While beating at a high frequency of 6 Hz —43,200 vph—, this movement provides a power reserve of almost four days —90 hours. Exquisitely finished by hand, the calibre is simply one of the most beautiful movements out there and a real treat for the eyes.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronometer ref. 26153OR.OO.D088CR.01 wears true to its size and with the utmost wrist presence. This exceptional timepiece is simply perfect whether you decide to go with the 18K rose gold reference or its platinum counterpart; to us, the color scheme of the 18K rose gold reference is the true winner. The watch is delivered on a large scale brown alligator strap with deployant buckle. From an aesthetics standpoint this watch is simply beautiful and very well balanced; however, from an horological standpoint this is one of the most impressive timepieces made by Audemars Piguet. Hopefully, we'll get to see the new Audemars Piguet Escapement fitted to more watches this upcoming SIHH 2017.
Sticker Price $212,500 USD. For more info on Audemars Piguet click here.