It’s the oldest complication in watchmaking: a timepiece that chimes the time, and the newest one from the world renowned house of Audemars Piguet is as seductive a blend of old school and new wave watchmaking as a (very well-off) connoisseur could wish. Chiming the time is as old as mechanical clocks themselves (the word “clock” is from the Latin for “bell” and the first ones didn’t even have dials) and eventually clocks–and watches–progressed from just chiming the passing hours, to being able to ring the hours, nearest quarter hour, and minutes past the quarter hour on demand (by pushing a button that sets the chiming mechanism in action.)
Audemars Piguet is one of the tiny handful of watchmaking houses that can make minute repeaters “in-house” (without having to buy the mechanism from an expert supplier) and the newest flagship in their line of repeaters is the Millenary Minute Repeater. It’s not for the faint of heart, lazy of mind, or light of wallet. The Millenary Minute repeater is the first minute repeater from Audemars Piguet in their unusual and eye catching oval Millenary case, and in addition to the chiming mechanism, it also contains Audemars Piguet’s new escapement, the Audemars Piguet Direct Impulse escapement.
The escapement is the part of the watch that actually keeps time, and one that in most watches needs oil, which as it ages disrupts accuracy, but the Direct Impulse escapement is designed to run with no need for lubrication.
You might expect such a rarity to be clad in gold or platinum, but instead the Millenary Minute Repeater is cased in titanium. Why? The lightness and rigidity of titanium make it a perfect sounding board for the gongs in the watch, giving them a volume and clarity that more conventional precious metals can’t match. This ultra-rare complication is not only a sound investment for the future –it’s a piece of mechanical magic that gives a voice to the music of time.
Available in a (very) limited edition of 8 pieces. Estimated U.S. price (subject to change) $427,400.
Jack Forster is the Editor in Chief of Revolution Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating the world of fine watchmaking, and he also manages Revolution Online www.revo-online.com the foremost information and discussion site on the internet for watch enthusiasts.