118 Make It Two

Two hearts are bet­ter than one, says the Aude­mars Piguet Royal Oak Dou­ble Bal­ance Wheel Open­worked

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Contents - WORDS CE­LINE YAP

Aude­mars Piguet Royal Oak Dou­ble Bal­ance Wheel Open­worked beats with two hearts

For a watch com­pany that is con­stantly as­so­ci­ated with A-list celebri­ties and the crème de la crème, it is easy to think of Aude­mars Piguet as a maker of ex­pen­sive, trendy watches one wears to hob nob with the who’s who of so­ci­ety’s up­per­most ech­e­lons or gain mem­ber­ship into the most ex­clu­sive rich boys’ clubs. While that is by no means false, it is also true to iden­tify Aude­mars Piguet as a bona fide high watch­mak­ing man­u­fac­ture. In­deed, horo­log­i­cal pre­ci­sion and chronom­e­try have al­ways been at the fore­front of its watch­mak­ing phi­los­o­phy and if one needs any re­minder of this side of Aude­mars Piguet, sim­ply take a look at the new Royal Oak Dou­ble Bal­ance Wheel Open­worked.

Aude­mars Piguet de­votes a large por­tion of its re­search and de­vel­op­ment ef­forts to im­prov­ing pre­ci­sion and chronom­e­try. The ap­proach with which it does this is also a par­tic­u­larly com­mend­able one. Ac­cord­ing to the tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of Aude­mars Piguet Re­naud & Papi, Gi­ulio Papi, the man­u­fac­ture con­tin­u­ally seeks to bring im­prove­ments to watch­mak­ing by us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods and ma­te­ri­als. In other words, ex­pect no short­cuts – and yes, Papi con­sid­ers sil­i­con a kind of short­cut. There­fore, all of Aude­mars Piguet’s tech­ni­cal achieve­ments are guar­an­teed to be per­pet­u­ally ser­vice­able and the Royal Oak Dou­ble Bal­ance Wheel Open­worked is no ex­cep­tion.

The first of its kind, this time­piece uses two free-sprung vari­able in­er­tia bal­ance wheels at­tached to the same axis. Swing­ing in op­po­site di­rec­tions, each con­trols an in­di­vid­ual hair­spring, the idea be­ing that such a mech­a­nism en­ables grav­i­ta­tional forces on the hair­springs to be ef­fec­tively can­celled out. This ge­om­e­try is sim­i­lar to the AP es­cape­ment in­tro­duced in 2005 in that it utilises two hair­springs, but un­like the AP es­cape­ment, it also uses two bal­ance wheels, both os­cil­lat­ing at 21,600vph or 3Hz. The rea­son for hav­ing two bal­ance wheels is be­cause an os­cil­la­tor with more mass is more sta­ble and, con­se­quently, more pre­cise. With it, Aude­mars Piguet is able to reach +12/-2 sec­onds of de­vi­a­tion per day, and need­less to say, this mech­a­nism is patent pend­ing.

And as if it wasn’t enough to in­no­vate on the move­ment’s chronom­e­try, Aude­mars Piguet just had to set a few more ob­sta­cles along the way. Not just the es­cape­ment with dou­ble bal­ance wheels but the en­tire move­ment can be seen, thanks to the in­tri­cate skele­ton­i­sa­tion work done on both sides. Since the 1930s, Aude­mars Piguet has been per­fect­ing its savoir-faire with skele­ton­i­sa­tion, or open­work­ing, which it con­tin­ues to­day. The fil­ing, dec­o­ra­tion, and fin­ish­ing here were all done by hand, as wit­nessed by the gor­geous, per­fectly bev­elled sharp in­ter­nal an­gles. Whether in stain­less steel or pink gold, the Royal Oak Dou­ble Bal­ance Wheel Open­worked is a mas­ter­piece that sates both the artis­tic and sci­en­tific senses. MOVE­MENT Self-wind­ing Cal­i­bre 3132 open­worked move­ment with dou­ble bal­ance wheel and 45-hour power re­serve

CASE 41mm in stain­less steel or pink gold STRAP Stain­less steel or pink gold bracelet with AP fold­ing clasp PRICE $61,800 (steel) $107,700 (pink gold)

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