Audemars Piguet improves the annual calendar, so it almost becomes a perpetual calendar. That might sound strange, but we’ll explain. This new calendar is now introduced in the Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium. Its name is latin for a quadrennium, which is a four-year period. The watch also features the infamous AP escapement, so all-together a mighty interesting timepiece!
The Millenary has always been a bit of a an odd-shaped timepiece, often chosen by collector who’re perse drawn to a round case, and like the elegant oval shape, with beautiful alternating satin brushed and polished finishing, and stepped lugs. The Millenary always features an off centre dial, which was probably most notable on the magnificent Millenary Star Wheel that we reviewed extensively. The new Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium has an off-centre dial for the hours, minutes, date, month and day of the week, and a small subsidiary dial for the running seconds.
As you can see on the photo above, the month is visible through a small aperture just above the Roman XII, and the day of the week is just below the Roman VI. From the centre of the dial come three hands: hours, minutes and the date. So what is this new type of calendar?
Let’s first describe an annual calendar and a perpetual calendar. Every wrist watch with an annual calendar displays the date, and often also the month and sometimes the day of the week. It automatically indicates this correct every day of the year, except at the end of February. Every annual calendar needs to be adjusted to go from February 28/29 to March 1st.
The perpetual calendar does not have to be adjusted at all. It automatically switches from February 28/29 to March 1st and automatically corrects for leap years. That is, until the next secular year, which will be in 2100.
The new Quadriennium does not have to be adjusted at the end of February, at least 3 out of four years. This means it automatically takes into account that February has 28 days (three out of four years) and jumps to March 1st. Only in the leap year it has to be adjusted, because the calendar’s mechanism ‘thinks’ that February always has 28 days. It looks like the Millenary Quadriennium is the only watch which has to adjusted backwards in February.
Technically it’s a magnificent timepiece, however the dial is not balanced, and looks a bit ‘messy’. The Roman numerals on the left-hand side are larger than those on the right-hand side, the font of the day of the weeks looks larger than that of the month, and two “bites” have been taken out of the dial, for the second sub dial and the balance wheel. The gold screws in the hour/minute dial and the sub second dial, are a reference to timepieces of yesteryear, however they also distract the attention, and so does the red pointer date hand. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer the calmer design of the older Millenary like the Millenary Piano Forte.
The balance wheel, which is held in place by a large bridge that is beautifully finished by hand, is part of the famous AP escapement. This proprietary AP Escapement with double balance-spring, was originally launched in 2006 within the Millenary Tradition d’Excellence No. 5, and works without lubrication thanks to its improved geometry. The double-hairspring compensates for potential poising flaws, and should improve the watch’ chronometry.
Take a moment to watch the video that perfectly explains how the AP escapement differs from a regular Swiss anchor escapement.
The Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadrennium comes in a 47 x 42 mm pink gold case. Maybe not the smallest, in terms of millimeters, however due to the oval case shape it does not wear like a big watch.