2017 GPHG Mechanical Exception Category Finalist
Pure in beauty, and with a delicate and lingering tone, can Jules Audemars Minute Repeater Supersonnerie by Audemars Piguet repeat a 2016 victory with the classic sophistication of enamel, and a reimagining of the pinnacle of historical watchmaking.
Of the six preselected finalists in the GPHG 2017 Mechanical Exception category, the Jules Audemars Minute Repeater Supersonnerie is the sole contender which conceals its horologic secrets completely from view. Reserved, restrained and without fanfare it's still an extraordinary watch, and while its appearance might seem to be understated, a very quick inspection and its prestige quickly shines through.
The gleaming lustre of a platinum case, and the deep blue glaze of a grand feu enamel dial suggest greatness lies within, and of course it does, because inside, the Supersonnerie innovative striking assembly is the result of Audemars Piguet's research into optimising the acoustics within the confines of the watchcase. While its chiming gongs still encircle the movement, they have been mounted on an inner cover with concave surface, which acts like the ceiling of a concert theatre, to enhance the timbre of the sound they make.
The inner cover also provides a measure of protection of the delicate mechanism against water ingress, which would explain why, around the solid caseback with an engraving of Jules Audemars at his workbench, there are a series of tiny vents, designed to allow the sound of the chimes to escape, and to be louder, clearer and more sustained than any minute repeater made by the brand before.
Twelve months ago, in this same category, it was none other than Audemars Piguet which won the Aiguille award for the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie; a very similar concept, albeit much more radical and contemporary in its styling. Is it likely that the company could score a one-two in consecutive years with broadly the same kind of mechanism?
I would be surprised. That very recent triumph is bound to dilute its chances this year, although by no means does it rule out a repeat, but there's also the competition to consider too. All five of them have strong and legitimate expectations for a win here, with A. Lange & Söhne, Vacheron Constantin and Armin Strom possibly chief among them.
The Watch Press prediction
No. Of all six finalists I would be most confident about that prediction, simply because of that recent win. On another year it would be a strong contender, but this time I would think not.
BUCKLE: Folding clasp
MOVEMENT: Hand winding mechanical. Power reserve: 72 h, 21'600 vph
FUNCTIONS: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Minute Repeater
SIZE: ø 43 mm
THICKNESS: 13.16 mm
WATERPROOFNESS: 20 m
PRICE EXCL.VAT: 325'500 CHF