The white or pink gold bracelet versions are fitted with bracelets that, like the frosted finish, possess a hand-crafted element that gives the watch a jewellery aesthetic. Audemars Piguet requires it the Polish bracelet since it’s given a high gloss to make it more supple on the wrist. In the Polish bracelet, the gold threads are braided in a right-over-left pattern rather than in the exact same direction. The end result is a bracelet that is more flexible and consequently hugs the wrist like another skin. This can be made more possible by the ability to carefully size the bracelet by removing or adding links in 5mm sections. The sub-dials on the bracelet models are mother-of-pearl. The cases on all 3 new Millenary watches have been scaled to 39.5mm, making them more wearable than the 45mm bits in previous versions, and a lot more wearable than the 47mm Millenary 4101, a model more intended for a man’s wrist. The new, scaled-down models make the Millenary more only a ladies’ collection, which will be a good move for Audemars Piguet. All three new versions include the manually-wound Caliber 5201, which can be reversed to show some of its elements on the dial side. Pricing for the newest Millenary models will be accessible mid-January. Irrespective of whether or not you’re into all things that glow, it can’t be denied that 2017’s SIHH tendencies were punctuated by heaps of the 79th element in white, yellow, and frosty hues. And nobody had more to show in this camp than Audemars Piguet, whose Extra-Thin Jumbo Royal Oak (mention 15202) in gold did not really steal the spotlight from the showstopping Perpetual Calendar in ceramic, but it certainly came awfully close — particularly for those who’ve been following the last 40 or so years of this Royal Oak.
The balance wheel is oft regarded as the beating heart of a mechanical wristwatch. The balance swings back and forth because it’s attached to a hairspring, a flat metal spiral that’s slightly elastic. Most hairsprings are pinned at the center of the spiral, and at the outer extreme. Because of the two immovable end points, they don’t breathe concentrically, a problem that is exacerbated when the watch is vertical and gravity is acting on the hairspring, pulling it off-centre even more.
One solution to this is two use two stacked hairsprings, each mirroring the other and averaging out any errors. Laurent Ferrier and H. Moser & Cie. have both installed double hairsprings in their watches (incidentally both use the same hairsprings made by Moser’s sister company Precision Engineering), while Montblanc has even used double cylindrical hairsprings, one inside the other.
Audemars Piguet went a step further when it unveiled the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked at SIHH 2016 that’s equipped with two superimposed balance wheels, each with its own hairspring.
In addition to the advantage of having twin hairsprings, two balance wheels means the inertia of the regulator is doubled, which promises more stable timekeeping since a body with greater inertia is more likely to keep going, regardless of shocks.
But there is a downside, as extra energy required to move the second balance wheel – illustrated by the diminished power reserve of 45 hours with the double balance wheel, compared to 60 hours in the movement with a single balance. On balance (no pun intended), the pros outweigh the cons, which is why this watch has made it to market.
Beyond the regulator, the rest of the calibre 3132 inside is functionally identical to the calibre 3120, workhorse in-house automatic of Audemars Piguet. It has been dressed up with skeletonised bridges that reveal the movement’s mechanics. In fact, the movement is almost identical to that in the Royal Oak skeleton ref. 15305 except for one obvious giveaway: the red gold bridge holding the double balance wheels.
Typical of Audemars Piguet Watches With Price Replica the movement is skeletonised and finished in a modern style with smooth lines and geometric shapes in the open-working. All the movement decoration is neat and clean, with the prominent, polished bevels on the many edges of the bridges obviously diamond-cut, resulting in the characteristic sharp and shiny edge, with one exception. The gold bridge for the balance wheels appeared to have hand-finished edges, resulting in slight unevenness.
All the bridges are ruthenium plated for a dark grey finish, which means the eye is immediately drawn to the brighter, rose gold-plated parts of the dial, namely the hands and balance bridge.
The rest of the watch is vintage Royal Oak, with the beautifully finished case having mirror polished edges and brushed flat surfaces. The Royal Oak is one of the few watch cases that is justifiably pricing – it looks and feels as expensive as it is – even in stainless steel.
The Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked is 41mm in diameter and 9.9mm high. The extra height required by the second balance wheel means this is slightly thicker than the skeleton Royal Oak with a single balance that’s 9.4mm high. Though not large, the watch feels chunky and angular on the wrist.
Pricing and availability
The Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked in pink gold (ref. 15407OR.OO.1220OR.01) is priced at US$76,800 or S$107,700. And the stainless steel version (ref. 15407ST.OO.1220ST.01) is US$44,100 or S$61,800.
Both are about 20 percent more expensive than their equivalent predecessors without the double balance wheel. The watches are currently available at Audemars Piguet boutiques, with retailers receiving it later in the year.