Audemars Piguet (AP) first showed off its new Millenary collection for ladies at SIHH in January (article here), and the collection has now hit Middle East shores, courtesy of AP’s regional partner Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons (AS&S). We were invited to the unveiling in Dubai, at the Four Seasons Hotel on September 15.
Headquartered in Le Brassus, Switzerland, AP is one of the big three Swiss watch manufacturers along with Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. The brand was established in 1875, and is one of the few watch manufacturers that is still owned by its founding family. Over the years the brand has built up a strong following for not only its watches but for its movements as well – brands such as Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany & Co and Vacheron Constantin currently use or have used AP movements in the past.
As far as watches are concerned, AP is best known for its exquisite Royal Oak (which was designed by the legendary Gérald Genta and first appeared in 1972) but the brand is also gaining significant recognition for its, now, 20-year old Millenary collection. Don’t get us wrong, the Royal Oak is, and will continue to be, the undisputed icon for Audemars Piguet but we’re happy to see the Millenary is also establishing a significant horophile following. Funnily enough, there’s an interesting parallel between the Royal Oak and the Millenary – both were, initially, not well received but then went on to become sales successes for AP.
An elegant collection for ladies
AP has been making timepieces for women for decades, and the new lady’s Millenary collection carries that tradition forward. With a distinctive oval-shaped-case and exaggerated Roman numerals, the Millenary has always been interesting to look at, and the three new references build on that strong foundation.
The Swiss brand says the timepieces are reliable, expertly crafted and beautiful to wear, thus perfectly complimenting the style of an Audemars Piguet woman. All three timepieces share the same brushed and polished 39.5mm diameter and 4.16mm thick oval case, and each one is beautifully elegant and dainty. If you think 39.5mm is too big a size for a lady’s wrist, don’t worry, the Millenary collection has always looked and worn much smaller on the wrist than the dimensions allude to. We highly encourage you to try one in a boutique before deciding on your next elegant timepiece.
All three references are powered by the new Calibre 5201, a movement that AP developed over three years. The interesting thing to note here is that this is a manual winding movement, and when we asked an on-site AP representative if she was worried about a manual-winding movement hindering acceptance, she smiled and said ‘No!’. She then told us that AP is getting a lot of interest from women actively seeking out watches with manual-winding movements. Bravo!
Typically, automatic or even quartz watches get the nod because they are easier to live with on a day-to-day basis. Automatic watch-winders are easy to come by and are far less expensive than winders designed for manual-winding watches, while quartz watches are powered by battery, and so are essentially buy and forget timepieces.
The movement was designed specifically for the Millenary’s unique dial and case design; AP says that the intricate design reflects the aesthetic balance achieved when old-world meets contemporary artisanship. The Calibre 5201 features 157 parts, beats at 3Hz and offers a minimum guaranteed power reserve of 49-hours (when fully wound). The Caliber 5201 gives the lady’s Millenary hours, minutes and small seconds functions.
Although there are three references, only two types of case material are on offer; rose gold and white gold. Given that the Millenary collection for men includes steel and platinum, we were hoping the lady’s collection would offer the same comprehensive choice. That said, we don’t think AP is going to struggle to get these watches on women’s wrists, with their current choice of materials.
Where the three lady’s references differ from each other is with regards to the decoration of their oval cases and dials. And, depending on which reference you choose, you’ll also get a strap that is unique to only that reference. All three straps are alligator straps, and AP even throws in an extra black alligator strap with each reference. When we asked our AP representative about satin straps, we were told there are no plans for this as of now, as the alligator straps offer the best durability and wearability.
The three new references; 77248BC.ZZ.A111CR.01 (white gold case, dark grey strap), 77247OR.ZZ.A812CR.01 (pink gold case, shimmering brown strap) and 77247BC.ZZ.A813CR.01 (white gold case, beige strap) are on sale in selected AS&S multi-brand boutiques, and Audemars Piguet boutiques across the region.
Please visit the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons website (click here) if you wish to call ahead and inquire about the timepieces.
To learn more about Audemars Piguet, click here.