When we first covered the watch that would later be known as the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph Supersonnerie, back in 2014, it was as a concept watch that AP hadn’t yet demonstrated a desire to sell to collectors. The team in Le Brassus’s ostensible goal was to push the boundaries of chiming watch acoustics and to provide tangible evidence that the quest for continuous improvement in minute repeaters was as alive as ever.
The next year, at SIHH 2015, AP set up a sound-proof booth in which they could demonstrate the superlative tonality and volume of the new concept watch. I won’t forget hearing this minute repeater for the first time, and that’s no hyperbole. The paradox of a minute repeater that chimes louder and clearer on the wrist than off was lost on no one. I wanted to know exactly how it worked – and I don’t think I was the only one. Luckily, Jack went in-depth on the subject back in 2016, writing the best explanation out there of how Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph developed the Supersonnerie and why it’s such a unique repeater. But the story doesn’t stop there. Earlier this year, Audemars Piguet presented the coolest watch that you possibly haven’t heard of yet. On the outside, it’s a platinum Jules Audemars dress watch with a smokey blue enamel dial and white gold hands. But inside, it’s every bit the triple-patented Supersonnerie we know and love. Acoustically, can the new Jules Audemars Minute repeater match the funky concept watch that preceded it? Considering that it has a platinum case and enamel dial, you’d expect some loss of sound quality from the original, since it was built purely for optimum tonality. However, after hearing this watch in a crowded booth at SIHH, I can confirm that it is much louder than your typical minute repeater, and, just like the concept watch, it’s louder on the wrist than off.
Commercially, this watch makes perfect sense. It looks like your typical minute repeater, and chances are it’s the kind of design most collectors have in mind when they plunk down six figures for a chiming watch. Sure, the case is large, at 43mm in diameter and 13.15mm thick; but, then again, it’s not unusual for a conventional minute repeater to tip the scales in terms of size. These are not complications typically known for their slimness. Flipping the Jules Audemars Minute Repeater over, you’ll notice a nice relief engraving of a watchmaker at his bench. You’ll also see a series of perforations surrounding this engraving. This minor concession to the watch’s otherwise classical design is, you guessed it, part of the Supersonnerie construction. Not that anyone would ever dream of getting a watch like this wet, but it’s depth rating, according to AP, is still 20 meters, even with those openings. The Jules Audemars Minute Repeater is not a limited edition, but unsurprisingly AP says that very few will be made. The $325,000 price tag isn’t for the faint of heart, but when one considers that this timepiece has one of the loudest and purest sounding minute repeater mechanisms available and comes cased in platinum, it’s hardly unfair.