Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph

The Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph (reference 26564) is one of those watches that will never be in my financial reach, but nevertheless very enjoyable to see and to try on my wrists. It is one of those advantages if you are going to SIHH or BaselWorld, you are able to see and try watches that have 5 digit (sometimes even more) price tags.

The Tradition timepiece clearly shows that Audemars Piguet is more than the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore watches. Although being the best sellers of their collection, the Tradition and Millenary collections are definitely worth investigating as well for those who are looking for classic and / or high-end timepieces.

Normally, I think the Tradition collection consists of watches executed in precious metals. This Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph is quite different from the other Tradition models I have seen. The case is huge for instance. Although 47mm is not that exceptional anymore, it is for a classic timepiece like this. Also, the case of the version I discuss here is crafted in titanium. There will be a version of this watch in pink gold as well. Limited to 10 pieces each. Both versions have white gold elements as well, as on this titanium version, the crown, pushers and case back.

There is a reason for the size of the Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph, which is the minute repeater complication. The large case maximises the sound volume of the minute repeater, as the Audemars Piguet representative demonstrated to me in Geneva.

The back side of the Audemars Piguet Tradition reference 26564 looks like this:

Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph
Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph

The sapphire crystal on the back side gives us a view on the AP caliber 2874 movement. Proof that Audemars Piguet is not only about Royal Oak Offshore sports watches and chronograph module movements, but certainly plays a role in the highest regions of premier league watchmaking. Audemars Piguet timepieces like this proof that they shouldn’t be regarded less than the likes of Vacheron Constantin or Patek Philippe.

The hand-wound AP caliber 2874 movement consists of 504 parts, the tourbillon cage alone has 83 parts. The finish is impeccable and all done by hand. For instance, the hammers of the minute repeater mechanism have a mirror polish and beveled angles. According to the AP press release, the watchmakers in Le Brassus joke that even “a glance is enough to scratch it”. I wonder whether the same joke goes around for the bezel of the stainless steel Royal Oak models though.

AP caliber 2874 movement
AP caliber 2874 movement

Anyway, this 13 1/4 ligne or 29.90mm movement has 38 jewels, a power reserve of 48 hours and measures 7.65mm in height. The column-wheel chronograph has, as you can see on the first photograph, a large seconds hand and a 30 minute counter positioned on the right of the center pinion. The two white gold pushers are there to start, stop and reset the chronograph mechanism. The slider on the left operates the minute repeater, that will strike the current time using two gongs.

Even though I am very interested in the technical aspects of watchmaking and love a good complication or two,  what intrigues me most however, is the shape and finish of the Tradition case. Audemars Piguet states that it grabs back to the 1920s cushion-shaped pocket watches they had in their Audemars Piguet museum in Le Brassus. However, there have been – and still are – Tradition wrist watches in the AP collection before this new Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph was introduced.

Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph
Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph

The perfectly crafted silvered opaline dial and pink gold applied hour markers in combination with the brushed bezel of the case are just stunning to me. The other Tradition wristwatches that Audemars Piguet produces are the Tradition Extra Thin, Tradition Perpetual Calendar and the Tradition Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater. These models have the same superb finish on dial and bezel and just look awesome to me.

Somehow, the Tradition collection never got much public attention and I hope this will change because of this latest addition, the Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph.

Omega Speedmaster 125 Worn By BMW’s Head of Design Adrian van Hooydonk

We are all familiar with the official ambassadors of the Omega brand.  Big names like George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Rory McIlroy, Buzz Aldrin, Eugene Cernan, Michael Phelps and a few more are wearing Omega watches as part of their image or job. Nothing strange here, as many watch brands work with official ambassadors to create awareness for both their profession or branch as well as their watches of choice.

Omega Speedmaster
Omega Speedmaster

If you are like the Fratellowatches-team, you will probably like the non-official ambassadors a bit better. (Famous) People that have picked a certain watch for a reason other than sponsorship or ambassadorship. We really can enjoy seeing some actors, singers, car racers being into watches just like us… normal people Speedy Tuesday   Omega Speedmaster 125 Worn By BMWs Head of Design Adrian van Hooydonk

Our colleagues/partners from Chronos magazine did a special edition of their watch magazine dedicated to design. This magazine discusses types of design, how icons are being created, interviews with in-house watch designers and an interview with BMW’s Head of Design Adrian van Hooydonk. This Dutchman leads the entire BMW Design Group (500 people) who are responsible for the design of BMWs, Minis and Rolls Royces. The interview mainly discusses his work on the new BMW i8 and i3 e-cars but also about watches. As you can see above, Adrian van Hooydonk has a great taste, wearing this 1973 Speedmaster 125 (we did a write up here) that was introduced for the 125th anniversary of the Omega Watches company.

Omega Watches company
Omega Watches company

Chronos Editor-in-Chief Rüdiger Bucher also has put the interview with BMW’s Adrian van Hooydonk on-line. Unfortunately for most of you, it is in German language. So, if you want to listen to the interesting interview (1:46 minutes) don’t read the following spoiler.

Rüdiger Bucher of Chronos asked Adrian van Hooydonk what kind of watches he really favors to which he answered that he loves watches from the 1970s. Especially large watches and preferably chronographs. The reason that he loves the 1970s designs when it comes to watches is that the satin finish of the watches is something he really favors. This, combined with some little details in shape and finish as well as the the use of colors on the dials is very interesting to him. His personaly collection consists of the Speedmaster 125 (as pictured), the Seamaster 600M Ploprof, Heuer Calculator and a Breitling Navitimer from the 1970s. You can order the Chronos Design Special edition here, for just €7,90

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the most exciting Speedmaster event ever, hosted by Fratellowatches and Omega SA in the Space Expo, ESA-ESTEC’s official visitor’s center. More information and registration here. Only limited availability, so act quick!