HANDS ON: The Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium

The story in a second:

Audemars Piguet have developed a cool new calendar complication, but the watch it’s showcased in fails to deliver as a complete package.

Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium 6I had two questions when I was first handed the new Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium. Firstly, what is a Millenary Quadriennium? And secondly, does it have anything to do with the Millennium Falcon?

The Millenary collection isn’t what immediately comes to mind when you think of Audemars Piguet. In fact, the unusual oval case shape looks like a watch from a completely different company. The long-running Millenary collection is a space where AP explore a more neo-classical aesthetic than the resolutely contemporary Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore lines. The philosophy behind the watch is that it a modern interpretation of a classic timepiece (it is much like the MB&F Legacy Machine in this regard).

Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium 3As you’d expect from AP, this watch has excellent movement finishing, particularly on the large, exposed, proprietary escapement, with big balance wheel and beautifully hand-finished bridge. This escapement has bitten into the off centre dial. A dial that looks decidedly traditional with its roman numerals and exposed screws. The sub seconds dial takes another chunk out the main dial, and the day and month windows add a few more holes. It’s a complicated looking, aesthetically busy watch, and that’s before we even get to the complication.

Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium 2This watch features a brand new complication – a Quadriennium. This is a new type of calendar complication that sits in between an annual calendar, which displays the day, date and month and only needs to be adjusted at the end of February, and a perpetual calendar which is smart enough to take oddball February and leap years into account. Audemars Piguet’s middle ground is a watch which is clever enough to make the jump from Feb 28 to March 1 three out of every four years, only needing a guiding hand during leap years, where you have to wind it back to show the 29th of the month.

Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium 4While the complication is a novel idea that I can see gaining some wider traction for AP the package as a whole doesn’t work for me. There’s just too much going on; the lopsided off centre dial, the exposed plates and screws, the mix of roman numerals and Arabics, the differently sized day and month windows, the pusher at two. All this is jammed into a large (47mm) oval case that doesn’t seem to know if it’s classic or contemporary.

Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium 5The Millenary Quadriennium features an interesting complication and is finished to a very high level, but it lacks a harmony or cohesiveness that I feel is needed to make it work.

It also doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Millennium Falcon.

Specifications
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Millenary Quadriennium
Reference No.: 26149OR.OO.D803CR.01
Case Size: 47x42mm
Case Material: 18-carat pink gold case, water-resistant to 20 m.
Dial: Gold white enamel dial and small seconds counter, black Roman numerals, blackened gold hands.
Strap: Hand-stitched “large square scale” brown alligator strap with 18-carat pink gold AP folding clasp.
Movement: Calibre 2905/B01
Crystal: Glareproofed sapphire crystal
Functions: Quadriannual calendar
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