The titanium version, the company says, is ideally suited for the watch’s highest complication, the minute repeater, which strikes on two gongs. As many may not be aware, the quality of the sound emitted by a repeater watch is largely dependent on both the case material and the case’s dimensions. Larger cases (the Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph’s is 47 mm in diameter) and lighter, harder materials (such as titanium) are best suited to maximize the sound volume of the chimes by allowing the acoustic waves to expand inside the case.
The hand-wound triple-complication movement, Audemars Piguet Caliber 2874, measures a stately 29.9 mm in diameter and is 7.65 mm thick. It is comprised of 504 components, 83 of which make up the one-minute tourbillon, visible through an aperture in the dial at 6 o’clock. Other parts of the movement, including the hammers of the minute-repeater striking mechanism, can be seen through the sapphire exhibition caseback. The chronograph mechanism is operated by a column-wheel system. The movement, whose balance oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vph, carries a 48-hour power reserve. Audemars Piguet also takes great pride in the numerous hand-executed finishes on Caliber 2874, including beveling, recesses, sinks, and sandblasting. The bridges and mainplate, as well as other cut-out parts, are hand-finished. The repeater hammers are especially impressive under a loupe, with a fine mirror polish on the surface and painstakingly beveled edges featuring internal and external angles that can only be done by an artisan’s hand. All told, hundreds of hours are devoted to the movement’s finishing.
Aside from, perhaps, its other major haute-de-gamme product introduction at SIHH, the Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication, this is Audemars Piguet’s most complicated and exclusive watch of the year. The Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph comes on a hand-sewn crocodile leather strap with an 18k white gold folding clasp.