Audemars Piguet Taps 17th Century Style in Latest Millenary Frosted Gold PhilosophiqueBy Suan Futt Yeo
The world is practically bursting with inspiration that can be drawn into the service of creating women’s watches, but such is the complexity of the task that manufacturers should be blameless for playing it safe and scoring easier goals that delight nevertheless. Companies like Audemars Piguet ought to be commended then, for whistling a different tune.
With the latest Frosted Gold Philosophique, this begins with the Millenary case: inspired by art and architecture, the swooping line of the Millenary’s elliptical case is a departure from the conventional round, and has been a most suitable canvas for Audemars Piguet’s more stylised compositions and high complications since the collection was launched in 1995. From 2015, the Millenary has been reserved exclusively for women, and the Frosted Gold Philosophique makes a most compelling case for why this must be so, as one of the most distinctive-looking women’s watches on the market.
Complementing the more conventional satin case finish are diamond-effect flashes of Frosted Gold finish that Audemars Piguet debuted in 2016’s Royal Oak Frosted Gold collection. A micro-hammering technique not different in principle from bead blasting, the Frosted Gold finish is applied more sparingly in the Philosophique, to line the bezel and lugs. This is all the better to frame the stunning brown or blue “hammered-effect” dimpled dial. The hammered treatment uniformly applied is not uncommon in tea pots but here it is executed with flourish, in a fashion somewhat evocative of a bed of rose petals.
Beating within is a new cal. 3140 self-winding movement that drives a lone hour hand in gold, a nod to 17th century hour hand-only timepieces (to simplify energy transmission, and moreover the margin of time-telling error in those days made minute hands unnecessary). Besides reducing everything that might distract from the awesome dial to a minimum – only the slimmest hour markers and just “Audemars Piguet” – what is quite delightful about the single hand is also how it is tethered to a transparent disc in order to track a path that conforms to the elliptical shape of the case. It just makes the Philosophique that much more coherent, sophisticated and special, worthy of its name.