Hands-On With The Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronometer AP Escapement “ChronAP” (With Original Photos & Price)

Unveiled at SIHH 2009, the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Chronometer with Audemars Piguet Escapement, nicknamed ChronAP, utilises the in-house Audemars Piguet escapement, an ultra-high beat escapement running at 43,200 beats per hour or 6 Hz. Not only is it high beat, but the escapement is also lubrication free.

Conventional escapements run at 3 or 4 Hz and all other things being equal, a faster beat escapements does provide better timekeeping than its slower beat counterpart for a variety of reasons. This watch is interesting not only for the escapement but for the movement layout, which is open and architectural; reminiscent of the Breguet La Tradition. Many of the movement components clearly take their cues from vintage pocket watches, for instance the elegantly curved bridges or the sprung ratchet wheel like those found on a grande sonnerie. AP Renaud et Papi in Le Locle, where this watch is made, has also done a terrific job with the movement finishing. At first glance it does not appear fanciful, everything is monochrome and subtle. But upon closer examination everything that is supposed to be polished is, and done to a very high standard. The finish on the barrel wheels wheels is stunning for example. And the base plate is guilloche white gold.

The platinum case is 46 mm in diameter due to the large movement (40 mm or about 18 ”’). Twin barrels give this a 72 hour power reserve. The dial for the time is grand feu enamel with blued steel hands. This watch is not a limited edition, but 15-20 are made a year. It retails for about USD350,000 which is very steep even considering the exceptional finishing and ingenious movement construction. A well placed sourced hinted to me that it will eventually be discontinued in favour of a less elaborately finished but lower priced model. This clip shows the high beat of the escapement. Unfortunately the ticking of the escapement – which sounds like a cricket on drugs – is not audible due to ambient noise. Enjoy the rest of the photo below. – SJX

Note the discreet APRP logo

A coffee table book on Audemars Piguet will be published in Sep 2011 and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon.com:

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