Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Tourbillon Grande Date Watch Is Best Tourbillon Of SIHH 2011

Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Tourbillon Grande Date Watch Is Best Tourbillon Of SIHH 2011

A few years ago I decided that I was no longer really impressed with tourbillons. It isn't that tourbillons are not special or complicated, but the deluge of tourbillons from every brand able to buy one from BNB Concept (now defunct) or Concepto, etc... made the tourbillon game too easy. They just lost their rarity and sense of importance. The mystery behind their function, and the allure of their complicated movements was lost in their sheer availability, and often laugh-inducing prices. So I just stopped caring about tourbillons for a bit. Then a neo-tourbillon renaissance started to occur. Where purists were revisiting the tourbillon as a graceful complication that was about viewing it in action within a nice frame. This is the time we are in now.

While I already praised the new Royal Oak Offshore as a fantastic piece for 2011, I don't have any choice but to also give Audemars Piguet the right to call their new Jules Audemars Tourbillon Grande Date limited edition watch, the best tourbillon timepiece debuted at SIHH 2011. Why? I love the straight forward execution and emphasis on the tourbillon that has a view straight through the watch. The Jules Audemars platform makes for an elegant looking timepiece that is formal looking without being boring, and is thin, without trying to be an "ultra thin watch." The dial is easy to read, and has an interesting looking stack of elements. From the top you have the AP logo, then the big (Grande) date indicator, then the point where the hands connect, and then the tourbillon with subsidiary seconds hand. These element form a nice stack and allow the dial to be almost perfectly symmetrical.

The tourbillon window is larger than it needs to be, but in a good way. The finishing is really nice, and the view of the mechanics is appreciated while not overdone. I am writing this article before Audemars Piguet officially announces the piece so I don't have all of the details. I am not sure of the size, but I think the case is 40-42mm wide. It feel quite right in size - especially because the lugs extend to the ends of my wrist. The fact that the strap ends are curved to match the rounding of the case is a high-end touch, and the big date complication mixed in with the tourbillon makes the dial feel appropriately populated without being cluttered. I simply think that Audemars Piguet did a fantastic job with this piece.

As you can see on the back, the Jules Audemars Tourbillon Grande Date will be limited to just 25 pieces - done here in 18k rose gold. I have a feeling a while gold version will also be available, and possibly a black dial choice. We will have to see when more news comes out from AP.

From a movement perspective I am impressed again. The manually wound movement has a symmetrical design that you can see from the sapphire exhibition back. I love movement that look like this, and AP seems to have take just a bit of influence (maybe) from the highly-acclaimed Laurent Ferrier watch. The finishing is quite nice, and this watch just begs to be a sought after collector's item. I was so impressed with it that after seeing all the new tourbillon watches debuted at SIHH 2011, I feel that AP has a top contender with the Jules Audemers Tourbillon Grande Date. Simply put, this timepiece epitomizes classic good looks that never went stale and offers a straight forward, no BS, tourbillon watch with a great looking movement from a well-respected brand. Look for this limited edition piece sometime in 2011.

  • kris c

    ooo – white gold and black face? Let’s comment on that one instead. Like you and tourbillons Ariel, I grow weary of rose gold – espcially with these off-white dials and brown straps. I’m not that old yet.

  • Ulysses

    Sorry, but it looks like the kind of watch a librarian would wear. I don’t like garish watches by any means, but this is too bland. The hole where the tourbillon is located looks crudely punched out of the dial, like someone who couldn’t be bothered or was in a rush to get home.

  • Ivan Y

    Very nice & clean look – combined with big date window it looks like something ALS would make.

    My vote is still for the Piaget tourbillon watch. Maybe less practical, but more fun.

    • admin

      I tried to keep the title of “best tourbillon” to watches that primarily showed just the tourbillon with maybe one or two other complications. The Piaget Emperador Cushion Tourbillon Automatic Ultra Thin is sort of a tourbillon, and then some.

  • Dangeruss

    I’m a sports watch guy, so while this is a lovely looking classic watch, it’s not something I’d aspire to own. I think I’d like to see the hinted at white gold black dial version. That sounds sharp. Let me go on record as saying Rose Gold needs to fall off trend.

  • Chris

    This is elegant. I’m really impressed. It’s actually really elegant. Not another idiotic tourbillion dive monster. That said, I’m still not entirely ready to accept tourbillions as anything other than fodder for the stupid rich.

    BTW, Ariel, if you are going to Basel, I plan to be there for the festivities and am a fan of the podcast and site. Care to meet up for a drink? I’m buying.

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