Easily one of the most beautiful engraved and skeletonized watches at SIHH 2016 is the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Tourbillon Openworked. Classy, handsome, useful, and timeless, the Jules Audemars Tourbillon Openworked is an easy answer if you are ever asked the question, “what, other than a Royal Oak, would you recommend from Audemars Piguet?”
One of the reasons that the luxury watch industry has no qualms about producing a lot of skeletonized watches is that the technique so nicely asserts the value of a fine watchmaker. It doesn’t take too much to simply produce and assemble the parts necessary to create a mechanical movement. Companies in China do that every day for next to nothing. What does take a lot of work (in addition to making complicated watches that actually operate) is the meticulous effort and skill needed to finish, engrave, or otherwise decorate a mechanical watch. Thus, skeletonized watches offer without any obstruction a view of exactly where the value in a luxury watch exists. For the reference 26143PT.OO.D005CR.01 Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Tourbillon Openworked, Audemars Piguet didn’t just skeletonize the calibre 2875 movement, but it also richly engraved many of the surfaces.
This combination of an operworked dial with a skeletonized and engraved movement makes for something truly special. With that said, one should not discount the effort required in making the timepiece actually function as a legible wrist watch. Over the movement is a sapphire crystal disc which is for the most part transparent, but given applied 18k pink gold rings and hour markers, as well as anthracite smoked regions to enable legibility on the various subdials. The only sections of the dial which are truly open to the movement are a central ring in the upper subdial which indicates the hours and minutes, as well as the exposed window for the tourbillon.
Thus, Audemars Piguet has been able to fully showcase the beauty of skeletonization while maintaining adequate legibility when trying to read the time, date, or power reserve indicator. On top of that, the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Tourbillon Openworked replica benefits from additional convenience by being an automatic.
To add to the prestigious nature of this watch, Audemars Piguet has produced the 41mm-wide case in solid 950 platinum. I have to say that it is a bit surprising how much platinum are showing up in watches at SIHH. For a market that is yelling for more steel watches, I find it interesting to see brands also focus on producing timepieces in the most expensive of metals as well. Then again, for a skeletonized and engraved Audemars Piguet tourbillon, would you expect anything less?